POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Mexican cooperative wins microfinance award



Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Luxembourg’s development cooperation minister Romain Schneider, Álvaro Aguilar Ayón of the Tosepantomin Savings and Loan Cooperative, and Crown Prince Guillaume pose for a photo at the Microfinance Awards ceremony, 30 November 2017  European Investment Bank

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Luxembourg’s development cooperation minister Romain Schneider, Álvaro Aguilar Ayón of the Tosepantomin Savings and Loan Cooperative, and Crown Prince Guillaume pose for a photo at the Microfinance Awards ceremony, 30 November 2017  European Investment Bank

A microfinanced project making a difference for marginalised rural Mexican communities was awarded at the eighth Microfinance Awards on Thursday.

The “Cooperativa de Ahorro y Préstamo Tosepantomin” was one of 37 microfinance institutions across 23 developing countries which were put forward for the prize, which this year focused on housing.

The cooperative offers savings and home loan products paired with technical support while promoting eco-friendly building techniques. It was awarded €100,000 from the directorate for development cooperation and humanitarian affairs at a ceremony hosted at the European Investment Bank.

Also present were Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, high patron of ADA Microfinance, an umbrella group, and Crown Prince Guillaume. Development cooperation minister Romain Schneider, a jury member, said of the winner: “This cooperative does not only adopt a holistic approach to the multiple housing issues, but also promotes environmental responsibility in a truly remarkable way.”

Two finalists, Mibanco from Peru and The First MicroFinance Bank-Afghanistan, each received €10,000.

“With at least 1.6 billion people living in substandard housing conditions, the need for better housing solutions is pressing. The microfinance sector, which responds to the needs of the financially excluded, is heeding the call to provide housing loans to low-income groups unserved by the traditional financial sector,” EIB president Werner Hoyer said in a press statement.

The awards were co-organised by Luxembourg’s foreign ministry, the European Microfinance Platform and the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg.

Corrections: A previous version of this article misidentified, in the picture caption, the gentleman standing second from right; he is Álvaro Aguilar Ayón of the Tosepantomin Savings and Loan Cooperative, the organisation that received the top prize during the Microfinance Awards ceremony. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa’s affiliation with the ADA was misstated; the ADA is under the high patronage of the grand duchess. In addition, certain co-organisers were inadvertently omitted. The article was updated on 1 December 2017 at 4:45pm.