SCPI : social microfinance in Philippines
Northern Samar is the 12th poorest of the 79 provinces that make up the Philippines, and the poorest in the Eastern Visayas region. It is a rural province, with 65% of its population living outside cities, in villages with limited accessibility. The Philippines is the country most vulnerable to tropical cyclones, particularly between Northern Luzon and the Visayas; around 20 typhoons per year strike the Philippines. In December 2015, In December 2015, winds exceeding 115 mph destroyed 65,000 homes in the province.
In 2014, Noel Gabrito established Samar Crusade against Poverty, Inc. (SCPI) in his hometown of Catarman, Northern Samar. Support from local people enabled him to fund the trial period. The project was born out of desire to combat the loan sharks at the Catarman market by offering the same services at affordable rates.
A microfinance programme reaching thousands of families in the rural province of Northern Samar
Based on the current “COLSA” system, SCPI is developing the individual responsibility group methodology promoted by Entrepreneurs du Monde. This helps to bring down all the barriers to access to loans (no financial or physical guarantees, no joint liability collateral system) and promotes the strengthening of beneficiaries’ skills to develop their income-generating activities. Groups of 25 to 40 people are offered adapted financial services (loans and savings), as well as socio-economic training and social support.
Why is this sort of programme needed in Samar?
Northern Samar remains one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines, and the poorest in the Eastern Visayas region. Traditional microfinance has excluded the rural areas of Samar. SCPI fervently believes in the need to intervene in these remote areas, where most people live in poverty. At present, local microfinance institutions in Northern Samar employ a “minimalist” approach to microfinance, limited to the provision of loans, without offering any non-financial services. SCPI provides both high-quality financial services and skills building activities. This programme increases the resilience of targeted vulnerable communities, through an attractive and truly innovative approach.