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Honduras Economic & Community Development (HECD) - OIC, IDH & Maria Elena & Arnoldo Alvarez
Category: Microcredit | By BChinnery, 17-Jun-2014 | Viewed 3214  Comments 0
Jannalee Anderson & Maria Elena Alvarez
For years, Jannalee Anderson has been traveling from Canada to Honduras with a group from her church, bringing medical supplies for the rural doctors and visiting with the Honduran people in the villages. She is a friendly, caring woman with a soft heart and a great deal of compassion for others, and is now the Vice President Operations for Opportunity International Canada, known as OIC.

Over a decade ago OIC, a global microfinance provider in developing nations, invested almost $1.7 million in Honduras, via a local microcredit implementing organization called IDH (Instituto para el Desarrollo Hondureno) to support the strengthening and development of the private sector by providing loans and training to over 5,000 poor entrepreneurs all over Honduras, positively impacting over 28,000 family members. 

Through her annual visits to Honduras, Jannalee came to meet and develop a warm friendship with Maria Elena Alvarez, and her husband Arnoldo. Maria Elena is a welcoming, approachable lady with plenty of education, who works as an English translator and who is also a member of the IDH Board of Directors. Maria Elena is a strong proponent of the value of microfinance loans, savings and insurance, for the working poor and is a valued friend of the HECD Rotary team.

Arnoldo is also a valued friend and member of the HECD Rotary team. He is a deep thinking engineer, committed to commissioning water systems to bring clean water to his fellow countrymen in the more remote sections of the country. His success rate to date is the installation of over 300 gravity-fed water systems in over 30 years, without a failure. Arnoldo has made it his life's work to know and understand the needs of the Honduran people.

Today, IDH operates through nine branches located throughout the 14 departments (provinces) of Honduras and handles assets in excess of $4 million. The organization is technically savvy and is now beginning to introduce cell phone banking so that customers need not make the long trip from the country to the closest branch. 

IDH offers microfinance services through three methodologies:  

- Trust Groups who serve the poorest of the poor, with loans up to $500, with weekly repayments made over 3 to 6 months
- Business Transformation, or Solidarity Groups, with loans between $500 - $1,000
- Individual Clients, with average loan sizes between $1,000 - $2,000

Over 75% of the beneficiaries of IDH's programs are women as statistically, women are noted to be more likely to invest their profits in ways that directly benefit their families. 

The Rotary Action Group for Microcredit and Community Development (RAGM) is pleased to be working with OIC and IDH, along with the Honduran Rotarians, and people like Maria Elena and Arnoldo Alvarez. Together we all continue to develop the Honduras Economic & Community Development Program (HECD) with a goal of implementing no less than ten projects, or phases, over the next ten years.

Phase I is a $135,000 global grant, microfinance project, now in the second stage of funding.

Phase II is $150,000+ global grant, water systems project, heading into the approval and funding stages.

Phase III to Phase X are in development stages including additional microfinance and water systems to assist those in Honduras to improve their lives.

We invite Rotary Districts to join RAGM and the HECD in developing and implementing these ten phases. Whether you choose to lead a project, or contribute, the strength of Rotary is making a difference in people's lives.

Please feel free to contact Steve Rickard (steve@propertytaxes.com) , Duncan Stanners (duncanstanners@hotmail.com) or Bev Chinnery (info@watchesnmore.ca). 

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