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Dominican Republic

 

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Dominican Republic

BUILDING BUSINESSES AND IMPACTING LIVES

WHEN OUR MICROFINANCE INSTITUTION IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC BEGAN OPERATIONS IN 1994, ITS FIRST LOANS WENT TO 16 RESIDENTS IN THE SLUMS OF THE COUNTRY. THESE RESIDENTS WERE UNABLE TO DEVELOP BUSINESSESES DUE TO HIGH INTEREST RATES FROM LOAN SHARKS AND THEY STRUGGLED TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES. SINCE THEN, THESE BUSINESSES, AND MANY MORE HAVE THRIVED DUE TO SMALL AFFORDABLE LOANS.

18 years later and our MFI remains focused on empowering customers living in high levels of poverty. Over 80% of our clients live in rural areas, typically having a low level of education and income. Our clients are geographically located in communities where World Vision works; Independence, Bahoruco, Azua, Santa Cruz del Seybo, Villa Altagracia and Sabana Perdida in Santo Domingo. These areas are characterised by acute poverty, unemployment and lack of financial and non-financial resources. However, they have a high production potential. 68% of our borrowers are dedicated to trade, 14% to services and 10% to agriculture. 

Working in Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has seen a large shift from being a predominantly agricultural exporter, to a service sector provider in areas such as tourism. More than 63% of workers now work in service industries and only 14% in agricultural occupations. However, the country’s unemployment rate is currently at 13%. The GDP is at more than $94 billion, but the richest 10% of the population receives 40% of this wealth. This leaves nearly 35% of the population under the poverty line. 

There are more than 617,000 micro businesses in the Dominican Republic, but microfinance services are only reaching 17% of those in need. This creates huge opportunities for our microfinance institution to provide services to a growing need, especially in the agricultural field. The opportunity to start and own your own business is the alternative to the lack of jobs currently in the Dominican Republic. These jobs generate the revenue needed to sustain families and households across the country.

 

Awards and Ratings

We are a four-diamond microfinance provider by MIX Market. 

We are also actively involved with the funder CITI Foundation and giving out CITI Awards to business owners throughout their network. These individuals are recognised for their innovative and productive initiatives that positively impact their communities.

Future Innovation

We are implementing a service called ‘All Pay’, which improves our platform of services and improves the efficiency and procedure for receiving payments from clients who live in rural and remote regions. 

We are aiming to reach over 15,000 borrowers, 12,000 voluntary savers, 30,000 children and have an operational sustainability of 124% by the end of FY15. This will be accomplished by greater diversification and efficiency of financial and non-financial services particularly with our new service ‘All Pay.’

 

 

Client Success Story

‘Working, saving and paying on time helps you achieve many things’ - Alvinisi

Alvinisi had always dreamed of having his own business to provide for his wife and three children. This dream was difficult to come by as he was unable to go to school as a child. After many years of working in the fields and saving what little money he could, Alvinisi has grown his small grocery shop through loans from VisionFund. 

 

Management Details

MFI Structure

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