At the end of March, Adelante and Marie Stopes Honduras held a health workshop for the clients in Puerto Cortes. During the workshop, a Marie Stopes educator covered a variety of topics ranging from sexually-transmitted diseases and pregnancy to cervical cancer prevention. This type of education is vital because most of the women we work with don’t have access to information regarding reproductive health. A short questionnaire carried out at the beginning of the day confirmed that most women are not educated regarding basic reproductive health concepts. Only half of the participants correctly reported that no form of contraception is 100% effective. The results of the quiz show just how important educational workshops can be for Adelante clients.
I was happy to see that the clients were comfortable talking freely about their concerns and experiences related to their personal health. The level of participation during the seminar was impressive, reflecting the interest and concern that our clients share regarding women’s health issues. As part of the workshop, Marie Stopes offered pap-smears to our clients for a reduced price. This initiative is representative of the organization’s purpose to provide low-income women around the world with the sexual and reproductive health services needed to stay healthy. With a high-turnout for the screenings at the end, I could tell that the workshop had been effective.
Before I started with Adelante, microloans were the first thing that came to my mind regarding microfinance institutions. I thought that MFIs, like many other financial institutions simply dealt with the financial needs of the client. What I didn’t realize is that many MFIs around the world do more than just address the lack of capital. Adelante provides business education lessons to our clients every two weeks so that they are able to make sound business decisions. In addition, Adelante also provides clients with health lessons so that clients are able take the necessary steps to be healthy.
In my opinion, micro-loans are not effective on their own in improving the standard of living for the poor. Micro-loans provide opportunity, and business education lessons promote entrepreneurial success. However, Adelante’s mission goes beyond a strictly business focus by instead seeking to improve the standard of living of the women we work with. With access to health education and services, she is able to live a healthier life by making informed decisions that not only affect her, but also her family. She is able to apply what she learns to her own life and at the same time educate her own children. I believe that the most successful microfinance institutions are those which support their clients beyond their financial needs, to create impact on all aspects of their lives.
This blog post was written by Development Assistant Asma Modi based in La Ceiba, Honduras. Asma received her BA degree in International Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and started working with Adelante in January 2014.