We began the Microfinance Committee because we were inspired by our minister, Rev. Rick Davis, who implored the congregation to do something about global poverty. We were also inspired by the work and principles established by Nobel Prize laureate Mohammad Yunus.
We located our partner organizations through contacts that one of our committee members, Carol Doolittle, had as a result of her work on community development. Carol was a professor (now retired but active on the UUCS Microfinance Committee) at Willamette University who has done extensive international community development research. Through her connections, we were able to partner with PADETC in Laos, Chijnaya in Peru, and The NEO Fund in Nicaragua and India.
Initially, we researched both large and smaller organizations. At Carol’s suggestion, we considered PADETC. Since Carol had an association with and knew the PADETC director very well as a result of her work in Laos, we had confidence that we would be associated with a credible organization. We wanted to work with an organization that would give our congregation a direct connection with the people that we were helping and know that our contributions were being used wisely. We also wanted an organization that had excellent staff on the ground in the local communities and would provide technical assistance and accountability for our donations. Carol was instrumental in connecting us with Chijnaya and The NEO Fund.