Thursday, September 18, 2008

And they lived happily ever after… striving for sustainable relations with the borrowers

Today, we will visit some MFI clients in La Paz. FIE FPP (Fondo Financiero Privado para el Fomento a las Iniciativas Económicas SA). FIE is currently one of the leading MFIs in Bolivia. Founded as a non-profit institution in 1985, FIE was formalized as a private financial fund in March 1998, when it became FIE FPP. Its relation with Oikocredit dates from 1996, even before it became a private financial fund. As long-standing project partner, I have heard much about this MFI since I start working for Oikocredit.

As we wait for a taxi to go to the market, FIE’s loan officer told me something I could never imagined regarding this MFI. Every August, FIE asks a yatiri – a Bolivian shaman – to make a ritual offer to the Pachamama – an Andean Mother Earth deity – to bring good luck and success to its clients in the coming year, as well as protection against anything bad. With this yearly rite, FIE FFP materializes its approach and confidence towards its clients as key economic agents for the country’s broader development as well as its respect for local traditions. Their long standing relationships with their clients are based not only on providing them a loan, but also through standing by them in difficult situations.

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