Tag Archive: developing country

access to credit

For many artisans participating in fair trade, access to credit is unthinkable.  Or it was.  Dr. Mohammed Yunus, an economics professor in Bangladesh, started the first microcredit program.  He and his institution, the Grammen Bank, both won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Microcredit is a big step towards eradicating poverty and is an integral piece of sustainable human development.  Loans are very small; the average loans are worth $25-$250 for first time lenders.  This money helps people in developing countries buy supplies to make their crafts or materials for farming.

I just did a marketing project on Opportunity International, a large microcredit organization that is active in 15 countries.  They have a 98% repayment rate on their loans – higher than commercial loans.  How is this possible?  Lenders form trust groups of about 30 people.  They meet each week to make a payment on their loan.  If they don’t make a payment, the other members hold them accountable.  Imagine a woman has a sick child so she is unable to go to the market to sell her crafts.  She cannot make her weekly payment.  Someone in the trust group offers to look after her child so that she can sell her goods and then make her payment.  In effect, these loans help build community.  I’m reading Dr. Yunus’s book, “Banker to the Poor” to learn about how it all started.

Many of the products that are sold at Beleza start with a microloan.


a fast response to disaster

Flooding in Pakistan has displaced thousands of families and ruined entire villages.  I stumbled across this article today.  In Asheville, another fair-trade store has been able to sell rugs to help the villagers.

Here’s an example of how fair-trade practices promote sustainable community development.  It’s not aid, it’s development.

“The thing about fair trade is that it’s a long-term relationship,” said Yousaf Chaman, director of Bunyaad since 1994 and son of the organization’s founder.

The program has enabled Khalida to have a loom inside her home where she can work year round, unlike farming.

In an aid situation, Khalida would merely receive aid money to temporarily alleviate her poverty.  This is appropriate during disasters, such as the flood.  Note, however, that she has had a relationship with the organization since 1994.  Ever hear the old adage “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime?”  That’s the difference between aid and development.

See the whole article here:  Fair trade rug event in Asheville helps Pakistani villagers

making it personal

I just skyped my friend and couchsurfing host Nourdinne Tahiri (Nour) in Marrakech, Morocco. He is going to send me pictures of his mother’s jewelry. I will show them to PDail, the expert on consumer desires in Raleigh. If he likes it, I will get Nour’s mom to send us some samples. I would love for fair-trade to benefit a family that took me in as one of their own.

On another note, if you have contact with an artisan in a developing country who could benefit from a relationship with Beleza, let me know. PDail is always looking for new artisans.