Tag Archive: development

january is for jumping back in

After a hiatus for break, the interns are back on track.  We have restructured a little bit to make our work more efficient.  We all meet at the same time now instead of having separate meeting times.  As PDail gets ready to co-lead a relief trip to Haiti, the interns have a big surprise for everyone.  I can’t tell you what it is yet, but be looking out for some exciting new things.  We’ve come up with some excellent goals to improve the amount of online traffic we receive.  Selling our handmade crafts and jewelry can be difficult online, but we have some cool solutions in the works.

In other news, I will be investigating how fair trade and microcredit loans are interrelated in my senior research for International Studies.  I am excited to be able to apply things I have learned in my degrees towards my work with Beleza.  The Caldwell Fellows and I just invested in a microcredit loan to help a farmer in Ecuador buy more farming equipment.  He is producing oranges, cassava, corn and cacao.  We used kiva.org as the broker for the loan.

Josè Narciso Quinatoa Arias

Meet Josè Narciso Quinatoa Arias, the borrower.


microcredit micromanaged

Fair trade is an integral part of sustainable human development.  So, too, is microfinance.  People in developing countries need access to credit so they can have the capital to start a business or make their crafts.  Many of the artisans at Beleza got started with a microcredit loan.  Unfortunately, last week’s Economist featured an article stating, among other things, that Bangladesh would be capping the interest rate on microcredit loans at 27%.

Why is this bad?  The interest charged on the loans helps pay for training programs and the administration costs it takes for locally-employed loan officers to bike from door to door establishing new loans and checking on the lending groups.  By capping the interest, Bangladesh is effectively limiting the amount of loans available.  It’s a shame this is happening here, where it all started by the work of Dr. Mohammed Yunus.  I just finished his book, “Banker to the Poor.”

Link to the article:  http://www.economist.com/node/17522606


New interest cap will reduce amount of loans available

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