Financial inclusion for all. Crossed views Burkina Faso – Peru

July 15, 2021

EVENT FOLLOW UP – On the margin of its General Assembly 2021, the Philea Cooperative Society (Philea) suggested to its members and partners to attend the event « Financial Inclusion for All. Crossed views Burkina Faso – Peru », highlighting the two axes of Philea’s intervention strategy. Two continents, two countries, four collaborators and several million beneficiaries representing voices in the field and their accomplishments for an authentic sustainable development. Report on this generous exchange which proudly marks the 25 years anniversary of the Cooperative. Discovery!

Speakers :

For Burkina Faso :

  • Jean-Paul KIENDREBEOGO, local correspondent of Philea in Burkina Faso, I-RAD Director
  • Adéline NIKIEMA, INCLUFIN project supervisor for I-RAD

For Peru :

  • Sergio CÓRTEZ, local correspondent of Philea in Peru
  • Ytalo ESPEJO, General Director of the Tocache Cooperative

Financial inclusion by two intervention axes

The 27th May of last year, Philea organized an event aimed at its members and partners – « Financial Inclusion for All. Crossed views Burkina Faso – Peru ». The aim of this meeting was to listen to the field voices in order to understand the mechanisms which generate the social and economic impact and to illustrate Philea’s intervention strategy, based on two axes.

For the non-financial axis, Adéline NIKIEMA, I-RAD supervisor of the project “Financial Inclusion of women in Burkina Faso: towards poverty reduction and shared prosperity” (Inclufin), who explained the ins and outs of this mission. Supported by Jean-Paul KIENDREBEOGO, local correspondent of Philea in Burkina Faso and I-Rad Director, they explained the project mechanisms in a Burkinabé context, which presents the security and sanitary challenges. At the same time, their intervention was preceded by the feature that the Romandy channel Léman Bleu made. Discover it here!

Concerning the financial axis, Ytalo ESPEJO, General Director of the Tocache CAT Cooperative (Tocache) shared his experience and outlook on the collaboration between the two institutions. With Sergio CÓRTEZ, the local correspondent of Philea in Peru, they stressed the importance of the financial support and follow up in order to allow a financial autonomy. Before their intervention, a video capsule giving voice to the farmers in Tocache was projected. For checking it, click here

Financially including women in Burkina Faso for an authentic sustainable development

This part was started by the feature dedicated to the “Financial Inclusion of Women in Burkina Faso: towards a poverty reduction and a shared prosperity”, broadcasted on the Geneva-based TV channel Léman Bleu. By highlighting the track of a million beneficiaries by means of the Azeta TRAORE one, a burkinabé mother who sells cakes in the market, this video capsule allowed to report on the importance of revenue-generating activities (AGR) though a financial approach and a non-financial support in order to financially include vulnerable groups, or groups rejected by the formal economy.

“With this project, we give means to the members of these groups to achieve their dreams.” Jean-Paul KIENDREBEOGO

First, Jean-Paul KIENDREBEOGO took the floor in order to report on the global situation in the country. He explained that the sanitary situation is worrying but no less the security angle, and even more, the challenges that devastate Burkina Faso. The current instability maintains these vulnerable situations in strong precarity situations, reinforced by discriminatory policies, as those regarding women. The aim of the Inclufin project is to remind the value of each human being. Jean-Paul KIENDREBEOGO insisted on the methodology « Village Associations for Savings and Credit » (AVEC) used in this project, which allows the setting up of an appropriate discipline. He consequently approached Oscar RWASA, the local correspondent oh Philea in Burundi, by proposing him to begin a discussion on the issue in order to apply this methodology on a larger scale.

Consequently, Adeline NIKIEMA came back on the details related to methodology, which show even more encouraging results than the financial education. She reminded that the force of the project remains in the logic of the group. Everyone is stronger due to the setting of a common pot for accessing credits. She also explained that the need for savings which is taught to the beneficiaries allows to report on good practices in order to avoid situations of over-indebtedness. Actually, field agents and village agents, trained to follow different groups, accomplish a supplementary work which reinforces the competencies of members, and which leads to investing in one’s professional project depending on the opportunities. Thus, prosperity goes through the group.  She finally ended with the current numbers and reminded that currently there are more than 100 groups in three different working sites representing more than 2,200 persons. The members already saved several tens of thousands CHF. The group organization allows to give itself the means for this achievement.

“These projects help beneficiaries to realize their saving capacity and above, all, their potential.” Adeline NIKIEMA

Tocache: a financial collaboration sustained by technical reinforcement

As a mirror effect, this part was started by a video made by Tocache, where farmers approached members of Philea in order to thank them for the obtained support. Since 2015, the two Cooperatives work together in order to allow Tocahche to sell it cocoa in foreign countries and pay its farmers in a more decent manner. As a matter of fact, Philea deployed all its financial tools with Tocache:

  • A campaign credit renewed each year, allowing a pecuniary advance for the harvest
  • A credit for equipment since 2020, improving the infrastructures on working sites
  • A banking guarantee with a third partner, Blackbone

This exceptional situation was made possible due to the support of Sergio CÓRTEZ and to the implementation of good practice and financial education, as explained by Ytalo ESPEJO. « Due to Sergio CÓRTEZ, we could establish measures for risk control. He was an essential support for establishing priorities: first, a better governance, then, training in financial education, and, finally, learning to invest strategically. Sergio’s daily accompanying is an added value which allows a more serene advancement.”

For Ytalo ESPEJO, the work of the local correspondent is primordial for the follow up, mainly with the Geneva headquarters of Philea, as well as for the support and reinforcing of skills which is implemented. On this matter, Sergio CÓRTEZ added that some lectures had been designed several years ago with Jamir CONTRERAS, local correspondent in Central America. Some aspects have evolved and adapted to regions and periods. But Sergio CÓRTEZ also mentions that some teachings are sometimes informal and help companies which need them the most to better apprehend complicated situations.

“Sergio’s daily accompanying is an added value which allows a more serene advancement.” Ytalo ESPEJO

By the way, Ytalo ESPEJO mentioned that the importance of good governance for reaching better economic results is background work. He explained that the support of good governance allowed a better decision making which generated a better work quality due to a deep strategic reflection. He uttered a clear observation, which says that the financial and non-financial intervention of Philea allowed Tocache to:

  • welcome more members, from 120 to 480 producers, within 5 years
  • to develop its own projects
  • to build infrastructures allowing a better stockage capacity for cocoa; 350 tones of cocoa can be processed as of now
  • to open for new partnerships
  • to finance harvest campaigns allowing farmers to access a better life level

As a matter of fact, Sergio CÓRTEZ estimated that the various investments in Peru allowed a better performance than the guarantee, Philea’s old tool of choice. He explained that, on a more global manner, the direct credit allows several Peruvian partners to better position themselves in the export aspect, which is a virtuous circle. He analyzed that Philea supported its members who fulfil themselves in agricultural cooperatives and micro-finance institutions, thus touching an important number of persons. In fact, he cited an example saying that, in spite of a particularly difficult year 2020, Philea still granted a credit for equipment to Tocache, allowing the Cooperative to grow based on the reality of their needs.

Final considerations – what can we preserve from these exchanges?

This exchange shed light on some concrete elements. At its 25 years of existence, Philea does not only intervene through a financial axis through which it grants credits for work capital. Philea is a Cooperative which functions through a network in order to better reinforce its members, mainly through its local correspondents, in charge of bringing daily support on the field.

Philea also wishes to help its members grow by assisting them technically or by giving them financial education courses, in order to allow an autonomy based on the development of potential.

The experience of the Inclufin project in Burkina Faso or the one on the accompanying of the Tocache Cooperative allow to value the field experience and to see that intervention strategies always should adapt to needs. When Jean-Paul KIENDREBEOGO asked Sergio CÓRTEZ what was crucial for seeing the growth of the Tocache Cooperative, he answered without hesitation that the upstream work (on governance and technical reinforcement) allowed the nurturing of quality work relationships. Except for the emotion of seeing two local Correspondents with such different aims from two countries discussing on best practices on the field, this rich exchange allowed to realize that a long-lasting intervention is built even before the beginning of a collaboration.

A big thank you to all local Correspondents of Philea which accomplish daily real fieldwork, allowing to reach an authentic sustainable development.

A big thank you to partners and beneficiaries who help us develop the best adapted intervention strategies.

Finally, a big thank you to today’s speakers who kindly reported on their fieldwork experience with such humility and accuracy!