In 2000, when 25,000 families were displaced annually by violence in Colombia, RPCVs started The Colombia Project, a loan program to help families reestablish financial independence. It soon evolved to include any marginalized community and became TCP [The Colombia Project] Global in 2015, expanding to Niger, Guatemala and Peru. In October, this 100% volunteer effort achieved a significant milestone: $1 Million in loans issued.
When 7,300 Peace Corps Volunteers were evacuated worldwide in March, due to the Corona Virus, six evacuees joined the TCP Global team, bringing new energy and creativity. The program went viral, adding thirty new sites, including five introduced by evacuees who worked with their counterparts virtually to introduce micro-loan programs.
TCP Global currently serves fourteen countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. An average loan is $210, ranging from $50 in Niger to $698 in Peru. While the program works anywhere, TCP focuses on underserved, small, and remote communities.
Co-founder, Helene Dudley, says “The goal is to create opportunities so migration becomes a choice rather than a necessity. It took twenty years for the first one million in loans, but we expect to reach the next million by 2025.”
Key RPCVs involved with the project are:
Helene Ballmann Dudley (Colombia 1968-70)
Rita Novak (Colombia 1973-75)
Tim Lawler (Colombia 1973-74)
Andrew Koch (Colombia 2016-18)
Shea Brennan (Colombia 2018-20)
Josh Concanno (Colombia 2018-20)
Zack Coen (Colombia 2018-20)
Elyse Magen (Colombia 2018-20)
Kenney Tran (Colombia 2018-20)
Curt Commander (Colombia 2019-20)
Chris Roesel (Guatemala 1973-75)
Michelle Kennedy Daniels (Nepal 1991-93)