Honduras Business Program Strengthens Amid Pandemic
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one LCI was able to emerge with its business program stronger than before. Ministerios Cristianos de Mayordomía (Stewardship Christian Ministries), also known as MCM, serves people in the community of Nueva Suyapa, in Tegucigalpa, capital city of Honduras. The biggest problems affecting the families in this community are illiteracy, limited access to capital, gangs, crime, drugs, children physical and emotional abuse, and extreme poverty.
Since 1994, MCM has developed a series of community development programs in response to the needs of the community. One of those initiatives is the Income Generation Program which provides access to capital, business training, and mentoring to micro entrepreneurs in Nueva Suyapa since 2005. This business program was created with a twofold purpose: support the business owners of the community and financially support other community reach programs at MCM.
Due to issues in previous administration periods, the business program was no longer generating income to support the organization and itself. Acknowledging its potential, MCM, Partners Worldwide and the BA team worked on strategies to revitalize this program. The Income Generation Program started a process of trust building that began with gaining the support of the organization’s board of directors through a restructure of policies and procedures for the loan program and a new risk analysis tool developed by MCM.
One year after the approval of this initiatives by the board, the Income Generation Program has grown 44% in total balance and 51% in clients. The organization is also building trust among the community of Nueva Suyapa, being considered a referent and an adviser for issues affecting the community.
With the progress in its access to capital component, the Income Generation Program has gained momentum to also reactivate business training. In February 2021, MCM through the Income Generation Program, started the business training initiative where 41 people learned about basic bookkeeping and money management. In July 2021, MCM launched the Microenterprise Business training using Partners Worldwide’s curriculum. Six entrepreneurs will soon complete this training and then move on to individual mentoring.
One of these entrepreneurs is Yeimi Méndez, a young woman who owns a small business that sells seeds, nuts, and candy as an option for healthy snacks. Currently, Yeimi employs one person to tend her stand at a shopping mall and also employs others occasionally for additional support to prepare the snacks. Meanwhile, she visits loyal customers to deliver tasty snacks directly to their homes or offices. With the business training, Yeimi is learning more about creating value propositions and testing new products for different customers segments. With MCM’s support in the form of loans and business training, Yeimi envisions to have more kiosks in other shopping malls in Tegucigalpa to reach more customers, provide more employment for other women in the community, and support her family.
Motivated by the progress in the Income Generation Program and the momentum the organization has, MCM plans to expand the reach of the business training to the Community Development program which focuses on equipping women to develop their community through small-scale agriculture.
Like a phoenix, MCM’s Income Generation Program is rising and strengthening not only for its self-sustainability but also to support the development of more business owners and families in Nueva Suyapa.