“She was always fighting for women.” So said Elsa of her late mother, Lilliam. Elsa’s mom was a fierce advocate for women in their community of Upala, an agricultural zone in the northern region of Costa Rica. Elsa is now following in her mother’s footsteps, leading a local credit union that lends to, and is run by, only women. It is called Efecu. Efecu is one of the local organizations that finds borrowers to connect with Kiva and distributes Kiva loans.
Elsa, her mother, and other leaders of Efecu saw supporting women as absolutely critical. “We wanted to empower women, who are often submissive to their husbands. We wanted to make sure everyone knew their rights.” To do this, they worked to organize women in many neighboring communities, ultimately consolidating their efforts into Efecu about five years ago.
Now, Efecu has around 220 members (all women) and makes thousands of dollars in loans each year, many of them with the support of Kiva funders. These borrowers include Marcelina and Maria Luisa, both pictured here.
It was very inspiring to meet these women, hear their stories, and have a moment to bear witness to a daughter honoring her mother’s legacy.
To make loans to local women through Costa Rican and Panamanian credit unions like Efecu, click here!