Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A study tour to the Maya world

After closing my suitcase, I realized it has only been 9 months since I went to Uganda for the Study Tour 2010. Because of the positive feedback, a new study tour was planned in 2011 with a focus on Oikocredit’s financing to project partners actively working on environmental issues and supporting vulnerable groups in rural areas.

Selecting Guatemala was not difficult. The country's portfolio includes project partners working in rural areas supporting indigenous groups and women and other partners involved in sustainable natural resources management, use of clean energy, and fair trade.

Guatemala is a well-known touristic destination because of its rich nature and Maya culture. At the same time, this beautiful country has a highly unequal income distribution, a tragic past of a civil war, and yet the percentage population living under the poverty level is striking, especially in rural areas.

Next Sunday Along with 15 investors and members of Oikocredit, the Guatemala team and staff from the regional office in Costa Rica, I will start a new journey to the hidden - for the regular tourist – Maya world, the real Guatemala. It is in these impoverish areas where in spite of the many challenges, Oikocredit continues financing grassroots MFIs, fair trade coops and environmental-friendly companies, which bring hope and opportunities through credit to the people and the environment.

It is time to witness again how the funds from our members and investors contribute to improve the lives of many Guatemalans in rural areas.

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