For the first time in eight years, HOPE International is expanding microfinance operations to include another country: Paraguay! The HOPE network will reach Paraguay through a partnership with Diaconía, a microfinance institution with a mission of empowering those living in poverty.
With a gross domestic product per capita of just $9,800, Paraguay is the third-poorest country in South America.* With an estimated 1.5 million Paraguayans living below the poverty line, Paraguay’s economy is driven by a large informal sector, including a sizable population of smallholder farmers. Diaconía began in 2008 as a network of 300 community kitchens for children and youth. But as they began to learn more about the families they served, Diaconía’s leaders quickly discovered the root of their financial difficulties.
For many families, women were often the primary providers for their family—but, lacking economic opportunities, their financial challenges continued. Desiring to better serve these families, Diaconía began a professional training program, teaching women how to bake, tailor clothes, and more. But, they quickly saw how even with additional training, the women still did not have funds to start their own businesses. Once again, adapting to serve their community, Diaconía became a microfinance institution in 2011.
Since formally becoming a microfinance institution, Diaconía has grown to serve over 3,000 clients in Paraguay and has a portfolio of over $450,000. In addition to loans and savings services, they provide their clients with financial and vocational training. Diaconía fosters discipleship by working with over 60 chaplains to pray with and mentor clients.
“By partnering with HOPE International, Diaconía will now be better equipped to implement best practices for Christ-centered microfinance,” shared Judah Mooney, Diaconía executive team member. “Working together, we believe we can grow to reach more Paraguayan families living in poverty and provide them with the opportunity to holistically flourish.”
Diaconía is HOPE’s fifth microfinance partner, and Paraguay is the 16th country in the HOPE network. HOPE-network partners receive access to funding, strategic planning, technical assistance, leadership development, capacity building, lateral learning opportunities, spiritual integration guidance and accountability, and prayer support.
“We are thrilled to combine efforts with Diaconía,” shared Dave Wasik, HOPE International’s vice president of operations. “Diaconía and HOPE share a vision for holistic empowerment rooted in Christ’s love, and I’m excited to see how God will use this partnership to expand the Kingdom in Paraguay and throughout the HOPE International network.”
*Measured in terms of GDP per capita.
Check out our other exciting new partnership with Compassion International!
Featured image: http://www.diaconia.com.py (Clara, a client of Diaconía)