“They are lined up around the block”

Great things are happening here at EDESA in San José, Costa Rica.  A quick rundown of what EDESA does and how that ties back to Kiva and lenders like you:

EDESA is a microfinance institution in San José, Costa Rica.  It is located in a lovely house-turned-office and staffed by several dedicated and energetic employees.  Kiva is one of EDESA’s several funders.

EDESA lends money to well over 100 Empresas de Credito Communal (ECCs) throughout Costa Rica.  ECCs – Communal Credit Companies in English – are small credit organizations created and run by the very people who borrow from them.

ECCs ultimately disperse the loans posted on Kiva.org.  You lend to Kiva – Kiva lends to EDESA – EDESA lends to ECCs throughout Costa Rica – and ECCs lend to entrepreneurs.  Although this setup adds another step to the loan process, it allows EDESA to reach vastly more individuals while promoting community participation in the credit process.

Steven, EDESA’s Kiva coordinator, received a call yesterday from a new ECC in Costa Rica’s southern region.  Following the friendly formalities that exemplify Costa Rican culture, Steven asked

“Do you have many people who are looking for loans?”

The reply was instant.

“They are lined up around the block.”

Steven and I are making the 7 hour trek tomorrow to introduce ourselves to this young ECC and explain to them how Kiva works and what we need to do to get them on board.  We can’t wait.

Soaring mountains outside of EDESA's office in San José. "Can you walk in those mountains?" I asked Steven, to which he replied, "What mountains?" Small potatoes, I guess! Visible in the center of the photo is the massive new soccer stadium currently under construction in San José.

John Murphy is a Kiva Fellow serving at EDESA in San José, Costa Rica.  He recently graduated from Dartmouth College with degrees in Economics and Environmental Studies.

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