Backing Community-Driven and Community-Led Investment in Ecuador
In 1993, a landslide and widespread flooding devastated the region around the city of Paute in southern Ecuador, taking lives and destroying property in its path. Out of a belief that the community itself was best able to determine what was needed to help it not only rebuild but grow and prosper, the Jardin Azuayo Cooperative was founded in 1996 as a savings and loans co-op dedicated to meeting the needs of this under-served region.Today, the cooperative's microloans support a wide variety of projects, such as educational programs, development of small businesses, and infrastructure improvements. The co-op boasts US$175 million in assets and some 180,000 co-op members. Now, with a $US9 million loan package from the Inter- American Development Bank's Opportunities for the Majority (OMJ) initiative and three impact investment co-lenders, Jardin Azuayo will be able to increase its activities.