There is a whole host of reasons why The Colombia Project – TCP Global team has spent twenty years developing, perfecting and implementing its model and why there is a need for this efficient, targeted micro-loan model
A shared desire to serve
The TCP Global team members share a common desire to effect positive change by working respectfully and sustainably with marginalized communities to bring about the type of inspiring, sustainable change witnessed throughout Colombia in Guatemala and Niger.
Gaps in current micro-loan coverage
The TCP Global model addresses gaps in micro-loan services worldwide. While there are a host of micro-loan programs serving those in extreme poverty, there is insufficient coverage for remote communities and communities with special health needs according to John Hatch, founder of the FINCA micro-loan program and co-sponsor of the Micro-Credit Summit. Our model is ideally suited to address these service gaps. Since the TCP Global model works best in small (500-20,000) and rural communities and has a history of working with mentally and physically disabled peoples, the time has come to scale-up our all-volunteer effort and bring it to a platform where it can be replicated to serve more such communities around the world.
Many Small Business Volunteers (precursor to Peace Corps' current Community and Economic Development sector) felt they lacked the tools to help small businesses. The TCP Global model provides tools for the Volunteer to support small business development as well as community development. One of our goals is to have Peace Corps adopt our model for Community and Economic Development volunteers as well as for secondary projects. Since this program has its roots in the Peace Corps experience, the most obvious path to replication is through the Peace Corps and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer communities. Peace Corps works primarily in small and remote communities that are underserved by micro-loan programs. Thanks to language and cultural skills developed during Peace Corps service, both volunteers and returned volunteers have the tools necessary to mentor a successful program. Thus, from a program perspective, replicating our model through the Peace Corps and RPCV networks makes perfect sense.
Justification for the Peace Corps budget
Working through the Peace Corps community could also help Peace Corps to justify budget requests and document program impact. Several Peace Corps Directors have referenced the need for good data to better support budgetary requests to Congress. The TCP Global micro-loan program provides impressive qualitative and quantitative data to protect the existence of Peace Corps.
Love of Peace Corps
It would be a source of tremendous pride to bring a micro-loan model developed by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) back to the organization that inspired and trained us in the first place. Many RPCVs will tell you that Peace Corps service was the highlight of their lives, a life-changing experience. For many, Peace Corps service was not a detour on their life path but the beginning of a whole new path through life. We tend to be passionate about the Peace Corps, to believe strongly in its mission, and to take to heart its lifelong call to service.
Continuing service for RPCVs
Based on the number of affiliate groups registered with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) it is clear there is a keen desire on the part of many RPCVs to continue service to their Peace Corps countries. TCP Global can show the way. TCP Global, working closely with Friends of Colombia was able to provide loans worth over $500,000 through an investment of only $100,000 over a seventeen-year period. In just six and one half years, SUNCOL in La Victoria, Colombia, (population of 14,000) used $13,602 from The Colombia Project to support 375 loans worth $100,000 (investing each dollar seven times) while earning $16,000 for special programs. With The Colombia Project model, a little goes a long way. TCP Global is working to engage other “friends-of” groups to have similar impacts in their countries of service.