Friendship Bridge provides microfinance, education, and preventive health services to help clients build resilience and pursue opportunities. We call this our Microcredit Plus program. 100% of our clients are women, and we target rural areas where poverty levels are highest in Guatemala. As part of our Client Continuum Strategy, we segment our clients into Dreamers, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders, which allows us to offer products and programs tailored to clients’ individual stages of development.
Our Client Continuum Strategy reflects our theory of change, which we view through the metaphor of a tree. The roots represent the various products and services we provide to our clients which build a foundation for their path to empowerment. The leaves of the tree represent the outcomes clients experience as they grow along the Client Continuum over time – on a path to grow from Dreamer to Entrepreneur and to Leader.
This is our entry loan product, offered to groups of women who form a Trust Bank (7 to 25 women) and co-guarantee each others’ loans as a form of social collateral. The average new loan is $318, with a 98% repayment rate. Learn More.
This loan supports clients’ investments in efficient, clean-burning stoves that replace open fires in their homes. These clients save an average of $37 per month by using less firewood for fuel, and they experience many health benefits from reduced smoke inhalation.
This school loan offsets costs associated with school enrollment, such as uniforms and school fees. Eighty-six percent of clients used the loan to continue their children’s education, and 14% used it to enroll a student for the first time.
Similar to the Chanim Chanim in that a client must also have good standing with a Trust Bank loan in order to access it, the Paralelo loan is available to clients who have a good credit history and higher credit needs in order to further grow their businesses.
Similar to the Paralelo loan, Chanim Chanim is a loan a client can access along with her Trust Bank loan. It gives our clients quick access to a small amount of loan capital with a shorter repayment period than our other loan products. Clients often use Chanim Chanim loans to pay for unexpected expenses or to take advantage of business opportunities in seasons of high sales.
Non-Formal Education (NFE)
NFE is the backbone of our Microcredit Plus program. Delivered monthly during Trust Bank meetings, NFE sessions cover topics related to health, women’s rights, family, and business. Learn more.
Clients learn technical or advanced skills at these trainings to help them diversify their income – skills like baking, flower arranging, piñata making, basket weaving, canning, and jarring. In addition to learning something new, clients are able to network with other women in this learning environment.
Clients who participate in this pilot have been identified as Leaders on our Client Continuum. The mentor program cultivates their high potential for leadership, growth, and impact on their communities as they participate in one-on-one and group business mentoring.
Artisan Market Access
This program provides artisan clients with technical and business skills to access new markets. Artisans participate in trainings designed to prepare them to enter new local, national, and export markets. Learn more.
Women’s Agriculture Credit and Training
This pilot is being designed to give our agriculture clients access to new markets through technical training and credit products that meet the unique needs in the agriculture sector. Learn more.
Health for Life
The Health for Life program combines health education with women’s preventive health services. It was successfully launched in our Sololá branch in 2015, expanded to Chimaltenango in 2016, and will expand to a new branch every year. Learn more.