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San Pedro Sula - Honduras MicroFinance
Category: Microcredit | By Steve, 15-Nov-2018 | Viewed 1767  Comments 0 | Source Ed Temple
San Pedro Sula - Update October 2018
Opportunity International Canada

San Pedro Sula

has been in the news almost daily lately. In October, a migrant caravan of a few hundred people formed by word of mouth in San Pedro Sula and set out to walk to the US border. Interviews with those in the caravan tell almost the same story - individuals and families looking to escape violence and poverty banded together for a new chance at life.

Fodor's, one of the world's leading travel publishers, have just added Honduras to "Fodor's No List" of places not to visit. In 2017, San Pedro Sula was number 26 out of 50 of the world's most dangerous cities, with almost 52 homicides per 100,000.

Opportunity International Canada believes change can come to San Pedro Sula from within. If ordinary people are offered both opportunity and industry, they can become the authors of their own walk out of poverty and create a new, hope-filled life.

The IDH San Pedro Sula office currently serves 423 microentrepreneurs with small loans and training. By focusing on small to medium enterprises (SMEs) usually shut out from formal banking services, IDH aims to build employment opportunities. When provided with small loans, SME clients employ, on average, three others. Currently, the San Pedro Sula office has facilitated the creation of 1,014 jobs in the city.


San Pedro Sulu - Staff
New Staff at San Pedro Sulu

IDH Executive Director, Francisco Banegas, believes Oscar Merlo, who leads the IDH San Pedro Sula Branch team, is one of the best managers in the organization. "God has blessed us with this man," he says. "His performance proves our strategy of promoting from within is the right strategy." Oscar was transferred from the IDH Danli office and has brought great stability to the branch. Francisco is eyeing him to eventually become the Regional manager for all northern IDH branches.

Oscar has had no staff turnover in the last year, and his team is working hard towards a goal - they decided they wanted to win the annual IDH "Best Branch" competition. "I think the devotionals we share each week make us a team," says Oscar. "I try to motivate my team constantly. I send them a lot of positive text messages! I am there for them when they need me. They know they can count on me in any situation."

One member has been added to the team (below, left) since April. Fanny Corral is a new Loan Officer who will serve SME clients in Puerto Cortes and surrounding areas. She has four years of microfinance experience, and lives on the outskirts of Puerto Cortes, so understands the needs of the people she is serving.


Puerto Cortes is the largest seaport in Central America. A large, industrial port city on the North-west coast of Honduras, it was also an early centre for banana production in Honduras. Although it is just 52 km north of San Pedro Sula, it has a growing population of over 200,000. IDH is preparing to open a branch office in Puerto Cortes as part of its strategic plan. Puerto Cortes is located at the end of the commercial highway and will expand IDH's service coverage from Tegucigalpa to the North Coast of Honduras.

Industries that dominate Puerto Cortes such as port activities and construction tend to be male dominated and commonly bar entry for women. Women are marginalized from formal employment in this area and are limited to running small businesses from home or informal businesses on the street such as food stalls and retail kiosks. Rather than try to equalize the labor landscape, IDH aims to recruit these female microentrepreneurs as clients and empower them to grow their businesses and expand their own possibilities. IDH's vision is to provide access to financial services to over 500 entrepreneurs to start or expand a business.

The Puerto Cortes branch will start as a virtual office with Loan Officers from San Pedro Sula initially recruiting and serving clients, followed by an actual physical office. The San Pedro Sula regional office will oversee the operations of the Puerto Cortes branch.

See the entire report:


Ed Temple - etemple@pportunityinternational.ca
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