Villagers in eight communities have collaborated with the Foundation to establish revolving loan funds for the construction of improved cattle sheds called cobertizos. Each shed costs about $300 and provides shelter and feeding troughs for 8 family cows; 214 sheds have been built to date.
The energy conserved by animals kept warm and dry in these sheds in the cold highland nights increases milk yields, reduces animal mortality and raises family income by an average of 40%. Villagers organize the loan association and determine the rate of interest. Loans are extended for one year. Once all households in the village have had the opportunity to build a cobertizo, the loan fund is put to use for other community projects.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.Margaret Mead
Capital for the Chijnaya Commmunities
In the four communities all families in need of a cobertizo have built one and paid back their loans. Most have used the reconstituted fund to improve eye and respiratory health for their women and children by installing smoke free stoves that send the soot and ashes out of their kitchens. In Chijnaya, the capital has been put to use as part of the down payment on a community tractor, plow and harrow. Families in Chijnaya and neighboring communities rent this efficient equipment for use in their fields. The rent goes toward repayment of the seed capital and the equipment loan.
Microloans, A Powerful Community Building Block
A well administered revolving loan fund empowers a community. Generations of seed capital are available to use in combination with community labor to meet self-identified needs. All can participate as long as they keep a good record of repayment, and the record in these communities has been impeccable. Around the world, microloans have been enormously successful with women entrepreneurs. These revolving microloans are administered by and available to all. The humble cobertizos are powerful building blocks toward community well-being and self-respect. Twenty new communities are waiting to become a part of this project.