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Pro Mujer fights poverty by establishing sustainable microfinance organizations that provide an integrated package of financial and personal development services that women require to build and improve their small businesses. Pro Mujer supports the health of its clients and their families and helps women build their self-esteem. The network also links women and their families with existing resources and services in their communities.
Pro Mujer is an international microfinance and women’s development network whose mission is to provide Latin America’s poorest women with the means to build livelihoods for themselves and futures for their families through microfinance, business training, and healthcare support.
Lynne R. Patterson, an American schoolteacher, and Carmen Velasco, a Bolivian child psychologist, wanted to help the poorest women in Bolivia achieve economic and social wellbeing. A U.S. government grant helped Lynne and Carmen get started — they met women in houses and courtyards and provided them with empowerment training, financial planning, and childhood education.
In 1990, Lynne and Carmen founded Pro Mujer, a microfinance network that offers credit, access to saving accounts, healthcare, and training to poor women entrepreneurs in Latin America.
Unlike the majority of microfinance networks, Pro Mujer provides women with a vast array of resources and training they need to increase their income, maintain their health, and achieve equality in their homes, work places and communities. While differing in each country, all Pro Mujer microfinance institutions’ (MFIs) provide clients with a vast array of human development services, including empowerment and health care trainings, health services and linkages to local health service providers. Pro Mujer knows that with small loans, women create small business; with increased income, women shelter, nourish and educate their children; with health education, women value and use health services for themselves and their families; and with the increased self-confidence and leadership skills, they become decision makers in their homes and in their communities. Pro Mujer believes that investing in women is the key to alleviating poverty and its consequences: violence, disease, and ignorance. While many microfinance institutions offer credit and a few offer credit and training in business skills, very few offer Pro Mujer’s integrated model of combined credit, training and health services that is so effective in helping the poorest clients achieve economic security and improved health.
Since its inception in 1990, Pro Mujer’s affiliates in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico and Argentina have disbursed over $488 million in small loans – ranging from $50 to $1,000 – with an average loan of $236. In addition to the 202,000 clients it currently serves, Pro Mujer’s beneficiaries also include over 1 million children and extended family members. All clients are encouraged to save; currently these women have saved over $16.5 million in individual accounts, providing a financial buffer for their families in times of crises.
Rita Foley, Chairman
Gail Landis, Vice Chairman
Ruth B. Cowan, Founding President
Peter H. Johnson, Honorary Past President
Rosemary Werrett, Honorary Past President
Helen E. Clement, Treasurer
Peter W. Greenough
William K. Kirst
Maria C. Richter
Luis A. Viada
Ambassador Linda Watt
Jonathan G. Weiss
Elaine L. Edgcomb, Advisor
Jonathan Morduch, Advisor
Thomas W. Studwell, Advisor
Bolivia, Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, Argentina
240 West 35th Street, Suite 404
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 952-0181
A Gift Card
Give a small loan
A $250 loan could allow a client to buy a commercial tortilla press to launch a business selling tortillas. Items such as the tortilla press allow women to work faster and produce more. This initial investment enables women earn more in less time. Women then spend more money on the health, eduation and quality of life for themselves and their children. Greater efficiency and greater...
Give Women Credit
Pro Mujer helps poor women entrepreneurs start or expand a small business. A loan of $50 could allow a client to buy a knitting basket with yarn and needles to knit garments for sale in the local market. This initial investment will allow the client an opportunity to support herself and her family.
One loan for a woman
This gift package will help one poor woman establish her own small business and access credit, business training, and health care services for herself and her family. Business training helps clients learn additional money management skills and how to effectively market their products. On average, clients double their income after two years of joining the organization. Clients also receive training in leadership, communications and self-esteem....