BASED-UK collaborates with the Bayan Association which is committed to education and development across Honduras. Bayan was founded in 1986 and has developed a strong network of schools and classes offering rural secondary education. It uses the SAT programme which combines rigorous academic study with research, experimentation and practical guidance in social and economic development, in particular agriculture. The programme is accredited by the Honduran government and currently supports over 8000 students in rural villages to complete their education. Bayan has now established the Community Banking scheme which trains some of the SAT graduates to establish Community Banks. These are savings and loan schemes which are established with graduates, parents and other community members. The banks offer small business loans to enable the young people completing the SAT programme as well as others in their area to access finance essential to starting up businesses and small enterprises. BASED-UK is committed to meeting all of the costs of the Community Banking scheme. The banks themselves are self-financing. The money raised pays for a Coordinator to run the scheme, for training materials and training programmes for the SAT graduates, and for regular visits and gatherings to check progress on the banks and establish new ones.
Introduction to Bayan Community Banking programme
Socio-political unrest in Honduras has recently impeded the development of the community banking programme partly because the free movement of people has been affected within the country. The Board of the Bayan Association is monitoring operating conditions and will share any new information following its August 2019 meeting with BASED UK.
The businesses served by the small loans from community banks (see photos below) range from the purchase and sale of meats, plastics or glasses to the cultivation of vegetables. All loan applications require a project plan.
Alongside the businesses established through community banking loans, additional projects to benefit the whole community are funded. Since September 2018 there have been 7 such ‘community projects’ implemented using additional funds from community bank activity including:
- Fencing of a school yard
- Establishment of a baseball field
- Allowing electric access to the school site
- Installing a latrine & septic tank
- School meeting room / auditorium
- Constructing meeting room in school
The banks’ capital has grown from just over USD3,000 in 2011 to over USD171,000 in 2019 reflecting the growth in membership and widespread commitment to the programme.