Are We Making a Difference?

BAUUC members visit FINCA Ecuador

For nearly twenty years, the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston, Texas has been raising money to support FINCA’s mission. Their generous gifts have allowed us to expand our work in half a dozen different countries, from Haiti to Guatemala. Recently, their “share the plate offering” plus other fundraising activities netted $5,000 that they decided to invest in our program in Ecuador.

They love FINCA’s focus on using a market-based approach to help people help themselves. They love the focus on women and on entrepreneurship. They love the focus on community building.

They also have an abiding interest in understanding just how their money is being put to use and what impact it’s making. They want to be able to answer the question, “Are we making a difference?” So, one of the church members, Peter Bowman, decided to organize a trip to Ecuador to check things out in-person.

In mid-April, Peter and his partner, Mary Lou Darst, along with fellow church members Jennifer and Wally Calaway, flew to Quito. Over the course of two days, they met FINCA staff and clients. They visited clients in the heart of the city and deep in the countryside. They got a true 360-degree view.

One of the clients who most impressed Wally was a woman who, along with her multi-generational family, ran a cabinet-making workshop. “When we were there, they were making furniture for a local school,” remembers Wally.

Not only was the whole family being helped by FINCA, but they were also improving the community by employing others as well as by supplying inexpensive furniture that helped in educating the town’s children. It was a win-win-win.

For Peter, the mission was a success. “Everyone we saw was making good use of their loans. It was great to see, and I was thrilled to bring the news back to the rest of the congregation and share with them what we learned.”

If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty around the world, consider making a donation to FINCA today.