On my trip to the Philippines, I was privileged to visit microfinance client meetings with HOPE’s partner CCT. Microfinance is CCT’s largest ministry, and senior leaders refer to it as the “backbone” or “platform” on which their other outreach programs reside. We visited groups in a poor section of Manila near the national prison. Our first meeting was with “Fellowship Group 23,” a group of 19 women (joined by two kids, a cat, and a rooster), all dressed in red shirts to show solidarity with one another.
The meeting utilized the 5W meeting methodology, designed to be an efficient repayment meeting including time for community, solidarity, Scripture, and prayer. The 5W’s are:
- Welcome –enthusiastic greetings from the loan officer and among the group members. They also sing the Philippines’ national anthem.
- Worship – two worship songs.
- Word – a Scripture reading followed by discussion facilitated by the loan officer.
- Work – the actual repayment process, where the women make their loan payments, plus any savings deposits or withdrawals if needed. The group leader typically collects the group’s payments before the meeting to expedite the process, and the group leader and loan officer work together to check for full repayment and take care of all documentation.
- Wrap-up – This is primarily a time of encouragement for the group and also a time to make any announcements or raise any repayment problems for the group.
It was a very well-run meeting. The loan officer showed a beautiful heart for the Bible lesson and also a strong command over the financial aspects of the meeting, which is a difficult combination. HOPE uses a similar meeting methodology in our microfinance institutions in Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it was very useful for me to see it in action in a different context.