By Ellen Willems, KF13, Ecuador
On November 22nd the Tungurahua volcano, located in the central mountains of Ecuador, started to expel ashes and on December 4th a major eruption forced the farmers living in the area to leave. The Tungurahua volcano (Tungurahua meaning “throat of fire” in Quichua) has been active since 1999. Aurélie Dagneaux, a previous Kiva Fellow working at Cooperativa San José, wrote an interesting blog entry on the consequences of this activity for the people living and working in the affected areas.
Many of KIVA’s field partners combine the financial products they provide with non financial services in order to improve the general wellbeing of their clients. A great example of this is Fundación ESPOIR’s model of providing village bank loans together with education. In light of Tungurahua’s eruption and the flooding in Venezuela and Colombia, I wanted to give some examples of what ESPOIR does to educate its borrowers about the dangers of natural disasters. Since most of ESPOIR’s offices are located in the costal areas, the major risks these borrowers face are floods and landslides.
A couple of years ago ESPOIR developed a Monopoly game for the province of Manabí. The Chance and Community Chest cards were adjusted to include safety tips like “Identifying the safe areas where you live (high areas) saved your life – you earn $200!” This game was given to ESPOIR’s borrowers as a Christmas gift.
More recently ESPOIR put together a CD with traditional music and songs with lyrics about risk and natural disasters. And at this very moment they are deciding which borrower submitted the best poem about the same subject. These are fun and creative ways in which Fundación ESPOIR tries to improve not only the economic but also the social wellbeing of its clients, their families and the community as a whole.
If you feel inspired to support one of ESPOIR’s creative borrowers, check out the lending page here. If you want to help farmers in the central mountains of Ecuador, check out profiles of borrowers from Cooperativa San José here.
Posted by Ellen Willems, Roaminig Kiva Fellow in Ecuador, currently working at Cooperativa San José.