25 Years Working Where the Need is Greatest

By Noreen Giga, KF 14, Peru

Founded in 1986, Prisma is celebrating 25 years of bringing “financial services and non-financial services to disadvantaged communities in order to strengthen them, and promote sustainable social and economic development.” And the credit branch of Prisma, Microfinanzas Prisma, formed in 1994 is celebrating 17 years of reaching Peru’s urban and rural poor.

Microfinanzas Prisma extends throughout Peru with a total of 15 agencies and 10 offices in the country.

Agencies of Microfinanzas Prisma - The shaded grey areas indicate the areas where Microfinanzas Prisma is working.

I have had the opportunity to visit 5 of these agencies during my fellowship and have been impressed with the extent to which Prisma really does reach the urban and rural poor. Close to 70% of Prisma’s clients in the rural and urban sectors are living below Peru’s national poverty line.

Prisma provides services to clients like Rosa, who lives on the outskirts of Lima and has used her loans to switch careers from washing clothes to opening up a restaurant in her house.

Rosa, cooking up savory potatoes for her lunch customers.

And to clients like Loyda, who runs a small store in a marginalized area of Lima.

Loyda in her store.

But Prisma does not just focus on clients that live within a certain distance of a city as some microfinance organizations due to cut down on operational costs, they reach clients that live high up in the mountains or deep in the jungles of Peru.

Prisma has brought services to clients like Lilia who lives up in the mountains 4 hours outside of Huancayo. Her loan has helped her buy more young cows to increase her dairy production.

Lilia, saying goodbye after our interview.

And to clients like Freddy, a widower who is supporting his four sons. With his loan he has been able increase the quality of his coffee production with the fertilizers he bought.

Freddy at his group meeting.

These services are made possible because of the hard working loan officers that Prisma employs. Such as Rosa, who works in the jungle of Chanchamayo and spends her nights and weekends visiting clients who live deep in the central jungle of Peru.

Rosa, running a group meeting in Chanchamayo, always with a smile on her face and bringing smiles to others.

About a month ago Prisma asked me to record the office voice mail message in English (that is right, I am famous! Just dial long distance to Peru: (51)(1) 616 5500 and mark number 2 for English and you will hear me!).  I remember saying “Welcome to Prisma, 25 years working where the need is greatest.” That statement could not be more true. And Microfinanzas Prisma, working 17 years where the need is greatest, has helped turn dreams into realities for clients living in the rural and urban areas of Peru.

Congratulations Prisma! Here is to another 25 years of bringing financial and social services to clients throughout Peru!

Noreen is in her last week as a Kiva Fellow with Microfinanzas Prisma. Take a moment to join MFP’s lending team and support their hard working staff and clients.

Previous Field Updates from Noreen Giga:

Is it ever too late to follow your dream?

What does Lima look like?

“No Pasa Nada”

What was your last business trip like?

About the author

Noreen Giga