Archives For Microfinance

Farmers in rural, agricultural areas of Burundi face a number of challenges unique to their remote location, including limited access to educational opportunities and financial exclusion:

40 percent of Burundian adults living in rural areas qualify as “illiterate*”[1]

5.3 percent of Burundian farmers hold an account with a formal financial institution[2]

Yet it is precisely among underserved communities that Turame Community Finance, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Burundi, seeks to work. Clients living in rural villages hold over 90 percent of Turame’s current outstanding loans.

Unlike a traditional bank, however, Turame’s mission goes beyond financial transactions, offering biblically based business training to its clients, and even to those who do not hold an account.

But Turame had a challenge: how to share robust stewardship training with those who may not only be accessing financial services for the first time, but may also have limited reading skills. Continue Reading…

Pat Mahin, Dean Solyntjes, Tom Radermacher and Craig Gustafson

After 25 years in healthcare administration, while in the U.S. Navy and civilian institutions, Pat Mahin retired—and then went to seminary. Near the end of his courses, in 2003, he took an independent study class, focusing on microfinance and traveling to Honduras to visit the work of Opportunity International. He remembers, “I just got very interested in the microenterprise model, how the money recirculates, how it creates support groups for entrepreneurs.” Continue Reading…

By Adrienne D’Orsie, Office Manager

Eight years ago, I was in my 20s and living as a missionary overseas. I served in many different ministries, from leading summer youth camps and encouraging churches (through tambourine dances, no less!) to building houses and discipling young women.

There was a purpose in each thing I did: to show the amazing love of God. But after a year or two in each new ministry, I’d begin to grow weary. I kept asking myself, “What lasting change is happening here?” Continue Reading…

Susan Jones was skilled, capable, and motivated—yet, month after month, she struggled to find a job following her college graduation.

“I was born blind,” she explains. “It’s not easy; … [when I graduated in the 70s,] not that many people [were] willing to give a blind person a job.” Continue Reading…

Around the world, HOPE-network clients are accessing financial services to grow their businesses. Join us in celebrating the ways these hardworking men and women are using their gifts, abilities, and creativity to support their families and impact their communities.
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by Christine Baingana, CEO of Urwego Bank

As the CEO of Urwego Bank, the largest microfinance institution in the HOPE network—and in the country of Rwanda—Christine Baingana shares what she’s learning about leadership while leading a team of over 300 staff.

I first learned of HOPE International after reconnecting with Peter Greer, HOPE’s president and CEO, while I was in graduate school. I had met Peter in the early 2000s while I was working for a large commercial bank in my home country of Rwanda and he was serving as the managing director of Urwego Bank. As we reconnected, Peter shared about the work he was doing through HOPE International—and asked if I wanted to join him.

In 2010, I joined the HOPE International team as the savings and credit association (SCA) specialist, later going on to serve as the Africa SCA regional director. When HOPE became a majority stakeholder in Urwego Bank in 2016, I was asked to step into the role of CEO. Having been on the board for several years, I knew that this would be a challenging time to lead the organization. I felt unqualified to lead such a large team through such a major transition.

But as I sought counsel from others, they reminded me to think of those Urwego could serve, men and women who have not had many of the privileges and advantages that I have. As I took my eyes off of myself and focused on them, I chose to say yes to this opportunity. It’s exciting to know we are changing lives for the Kingdom, that men and women who come to Urwego for a small loan, or to find a safe place to save, will have the opportunity to overcome poverty and experience a closer relationship with the Lord and their community members.

Here are five of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned on this leadership journey:

Continue Reading…