My name is Becca Moore. I am pursuing my Masters in Global Policy Studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, focusing on international development. Now granted the opportunity to apply my academic knowledge to a practical setting, I have begun a rigorous internship with People Helping People Global (PHPG), a non-profit micro-lending organization based out of Vermont. PHPG offers micro-loans to individuals in Nicaragua who earn less than $2 a day, enabling disadvantaged entrepreneurs to start or expand their business. The majority of the loan recipients live in Granada, which is where I will be based for the duration of my internship in Nicaragua.
While in Granada, I am working directly with PHPG’s Nicaraguan employees, Gilberts and Marcela, and receiving guidance from the organization’s co-founders, Alex and Isabel, who are currently managing PHPG’s microfinance activities from the States. My role within the organization is to assist the local staff in the loan process, to identify ways in which to increase PHPG’s efficiency and effectiveness, and to act as a liaison between the donor community and the loan recipients.
This past semester I researched how health education programs have been combined with micro-finance programs. My goal is to apply what I learned through this research to help develop and implement a health education component to the loan process. I plan on working with the local employees, loan recipients, local health professionals, and fellow interns to explore this idea.
Through shadowing Gilberts and Marcela during the repayment meetings, I have become familiar with the community and some of the loan recipients. This week, we (the local staff and summer interns) began to interview prospective loan recipients for a new set of loans that will be given out in August. The initial interviews both assess the applicants’ respective incomes and business plans to determine whether they qualify for loans and gather information about their families and quality of life. Over the next few weeks, we will be interviewing a total of 75 new recipients.
I want to end my first blog post by thanking the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the William H. Crook Program for the Crook Fellowship that made this internship possible!