Faces: Fighting poverty and inequality in Ecuador

14 July, 2021

Cordaid Investment Management has provided FACES, a microfinance institution in Ecuador with a strong social and environmental focus, with the 4th loan, marking six years of impactful partnership.

"FACES is a non-profit foundation that was founded in 1991 in the South of the country, but then was able to open a few branches in the North. FACES not only provides microfinance loans but also works in areas like health services, improvement of housing conditions and education of children. It has a considerable agricultural loan portfolio and promotes sustainable production and the development of value chains. As per the end of March 2021, it served almost 20,000 lenders, with a loan portfolio of USD 44.3M", explains Gauke Andriesse, Senior Investment Manager at Cordaid Investment Management.

FACES has a strong social profile: 54.4% of their borrowers are women, 56.0% are located in rural areas, and 47.0% of the loan portfolio is invested in agriculture. The MFI is active in the provinces of Loja and Zamora Chinchipe that are among the most affected by poverty and inequality in Ecuador. The majority of the population works in crop and cattle farming, sugar production, and the lumber industry. FACES has developed diverse loan products for microenterprises involved in trade, services, production, and processing, focusing on female entrepreneurs. They offer unique microcredit packages for people with disabilities that integrate them into the work of microenterprises.

Besides financial services, FACES provides free business education, covering topics like increasing productivity of microenterprises, accounting, loan management. The MFI is also involved with social community training in health education (reproductive health and basic hygiene), dealing with domestic violence and women empowerment. Faces helps improve the living conditions of its target group through health services delivery, improvement of housing conditions, and children's education. When it comes to health, besides providing affordable health insurance, FACES organizes awareness and prevention campaigns, as well as visits of doctors to the communities where the organization works.

Microfinance institutions like FACES are improving the social and economic welfare of marginalised populations. By supporting them, Cordaid Investment Management brings financial inclusion to rural communities, overlooked by the traditional banking system. 

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