A loan of $1,100 helped a member to facilitate the clearing of land and the planting of crops.

Banco Mujer Mâmârkua Group's story

The official name of this group is “The Women´s Bank of Mâmârkua”. This group consists of eight women from the Suretka region near the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. With this loan, Elizabeth, Lidiana and Elidieth will receive a loan to invest at their discretion. In the picture, Elizabeth is sitting in the chair in the bottom left corner. Lidiana is wearing bright red pants (3rd in from the right) and Elidieth is the second woman in from the right (wearing a turquoise shirt). These women have created The Women’s Bank of Mâmârkua as a formal way to support one another as guarantors of each other’s loans. This loan will be the group’s second with Fundacion Mujer.

The Mâmârkua Women come from a culture that values and praises the elements of nature as well as the wisdom of elders. The word “mâmârkua” signifies “flower” in their native language. Elizabeth, Lidiana and Elidieth are applying for loans of 200,000 colons each.

Indigenous rural areas such as Suretka are characterized by many difficulties such as a lack of job opportunities, infrastructural deficiencies, low levels of formal education and lack of available financial services.

The Mâmârkua Women have adapted to their challenging situation through a communal initiative to create work for themselves by engaging in the cultivation and sale of plantains (similar to a banana but green and mainly used for cooking - a staple food in the region). For the group members, the responsibility of raising a family has fallen on their shoulders alone, rendering the revenue generated from plantain sales a vital source of income. Despite their entrepreneurial spirit, their efforts have been hamstrung, partly due to exclusion from the traditional banking system. This is where you, through Kiva’s lending model, can help.

Each woman has been allocated a parcel of land by the Costa Rican government, in Suretka, a region located in the province of Limon. The women use this land for the growing of plantains as well as other subsistence crops. An intermediary distributor comes to the rural village once a week to purchase plantains from the women. In a good month, each woman can earn up to 70,000 colons. The distributor sells the plantains in the closest large city, Limon. The plantains require nine months to reach maturity (one complete cycle).

The close proximity of the Suretka region to a river has resulted in a major challenge for the group. Every year, the women must cope with the inundation of their plantain crops during the rainy season. In these months, the river rises and drowns an unpredictable number of the agricultural crops which are the source of livelihood for the Mâmârkua Women and their families.

To surmount the seasonal obstacle of the rising river, the women have decided to expand their fields of cultivation to areas further away from the water. Although this may seem a simple solution, the land is a jungle, ridden with trees and undesirable weeds that need to be cleared before anything new can be planted. The women lack the resources (labour, tools) to take on this work themselves. Your loan will enable the Mâmârkua women to clear and use their land more effectively. By providing capital, the group members will be able to invest in necessary resources to clear new areas of their land for harvest at a safer distance from the rising river.

The credit consultant who has been working with The Women´s Bank of Mâmârkua over the past two years compliments the group on their punctual repayments as well as on their responsible and organized nature. Your loan is a direct investment in the betterment of the lives of women living in a poor community of Caribbean Costa Rica. By lending to these proactive and hardworking entrepreneurs, you are enabling them to help themselves.

In this group: Elizabeth, Elidieth, Lidiana

Loan details

Lenders and lending teams

Loan details