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Mercedes Canalda de Beras-Goico, new president of REDCAMIF since August 2018

Biography
Lic. Canalda was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She has a degree in economics and a Master's degree in business administration.

Mercedes Canalda

From 1985 to 1993 she worked in the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic in different areas ranging from economics to international affairs.
From 2003 onward she has been the CEO of Banco de Ahorro y Crédito Adopem, S. A.

Presently she is the Executive Director of the Asociación Dominicana para el Desarrollo de la Mujer, Inc. ( ADOPEM NGO: Dominican Association for the Development of Women), founding member of the Red Dominicana y del Caribe de Microfinanzas (REDOMIF Association: Dominican and Caribbean Network of Microfinance), Chair of REDOMIF, Chair of the Red Centroamericana y del Caribe de Microfinanzas (REDCAMIF: Central American and Caribbean Network of Microfinance), former Chair of the Consejo de Fundaciones Americanas de Desarrollo (SOLIDARIOS: Council of American Foundations for Development) and former President and present member of the Board of the Asociación de Bancos de Ahorro y Préstamo y Corporaciones de Crédito de República Dominicana (ABANCORD: Association of Savings and Loan Banks and Credit Corporations of the Dominican Republic), Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Alianza NGO, and member of the Board of Directors of Fondomicro.
Mrs. Canalda has been an international consultant for organizations with the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Women´s World Banking (WWB); she has also been a professor for over 15 years at several local universities and a lecturer at international events and international universities.

She leverages her position in order to help low income Dominicans enter the formal economic system through loans they use to undertake their own businesses.


As part of International Women's Day on March 8, 2020, Mercedes Canalda de Beras-Goico gave her testimony on her vision of women in the world of microfinance.


« There are women in most of the project positions »

You replaced Carlos Rojas Hidalgo as Chair of REDCAMIF during the summer of 2018.  As a woman, would you say you have given REDCAMIF a different outlook?
Upon assuming the Chair of REDCAMIF, I found a structured organization with good processes where every local structure participates in its Board of Directors. As a woman the opportunity was to engage in the promotion of equity. When I asked myself how was I to change REDCAMIF, my first approach to the Network was to get to know its team, its human talent group, who was every member of the staff.  I was surprised to find a fair amount of gender equity. There were women in most of the project positions, which is good. These women can have a growing and successful career path, and these postings are quite frequent in banking at board level where women are represented too. In REDCAMIF out of 7 countries represented in the Board, 3 directors are women including me. It is not a 50-50 parity but close to it thus generating a different perspective in the Board.

What are the main goals/challenges of REDCAMIF's for the inclusion of women in the region of Central America and the Caribbean?
From a woman perspective, the first challenge is empowerment: the leadership we need in order to generate impact on better management and a greater market outreach. Women not only have the capability but also the sensitivity of achieving.
The second challenge for the Network is to generate a better knowledge of women clients. Our center is not the product, but the client: understanding that the needs of men and women are different and focusing on those needs.

You have also been a member of the Board of ADOPEM Bank for over 20 years, one of the largest institutions of the Dominican Republic. What are the main benefits that microfinance offers to the women of this country?
Firstly, to give them access to financial and non-financial products and services, as a tool to leverage their development and leadership. Women assume very important roles so we cannot afford to be confused because it has an impact on the lives of people, on our century... we are talking about education, integrity and responsibility... Women like me, and mainly in the culture of our Latino countries, assume this role. And responsibility is very important for future generations. You need to ensure this fundamental and delicate balance between your responsibilities, your administrative management and your being an entrepreneur.

There is a myth about the difficulty of balancing the private and professional lives of women, what do you think about it?
I seek the positive side of wives. From that perspective, women have the challenge of distributing their time between the urgent, the important and the truly relevant. In my case I have different roles: I am in REDOMIF, REDCAMIF, SOLIDARIOS; I am the CEO of ADOPEM Bank, I also work as Executive Director of ADOPEM NGO... The key is to know what is your role in every institutional instance. For example, I never set a meeting on my children's or my husband's birthdays. I enjoyed my children during the different stages of my life; these were sacrifices I had to make.
There is another sacrifice for the professional development that has to be taken into account. We made a research and spotted another important myth, because businesses run by men grow faster than those of women. In the case of the Dominican Republic, women lack the capacity to reinvest into their businesses. Men and women do not reinvest the same proportion of profits, because women have a greater marginal propensity to save, to invest in education and housing and to spend in food. Then it is not just a matter of time, or multitasking: it is about responsibility. So, when a woman can invest 15% or 17% of her profits to grow her business, a man typically invests 35% or 40%. This concept is noteworthy but we’ll have to find out how to invest much more profitably, and to develop more efficient businesses.

Do you have a message for women entrepreneurs?
I would like to motivate women entrepreneurs to keep training and educating themselves, I want to tell them not to set a limit to their dreams. The human being possesses the very important capability of dreaming, so as long as you are able to dream about what you can achieve, you have the possibility of turning your challenges into reality.

Mercedes et Ivan

Mercedes Canalda de Beras-Goico (President of REDCAMIF) and Iván Gutiérrez Aguirre (Executive Director de REDCAMIF) on the ADA stand during the European Microfinance Week in Luxembourg from 14 to 16 November 2018.

July 2018

"Banco ADOPEM" MFI supported by ADA ranked among the best sustainable initiatives in Latin America!

Within the framework of the ADA-REDCAMIF project set up between 2012 and 2017, ADA supported the Dominican Republic MFI "Banco ADOPEM" for the development of inclusive rural and environmental financial products and services.
As such, ADOPEM has implemented a range of products called "FRA - Finanzas Rurales y Ambiente (Rural Finance and Environment)", declined in 3 products intended for small producers and agricultural enterprises, as well as women entrepreneurs living in rural areas.

With this initiative, ADOPEM ranks 234th among the TOP 500 of the best sustainable initiatives within the framework of the "Premios Latinoamérica Verde 2018" Prize supported by the UNPD (United Nations Development Programmes), out of a total of 2,733 applications received.

Premios Latinoaméricos Verde





ADOPEM's "FRA - Finanzas Rurales y Ambiente" programme was selected among the top 10 in the "Sustainable Finance" category.

For more information on ADOPEM's "FRA - Finanzas Rurales y Ambiente" products: https://bit.ly/2Nb2mcl

Certificado

July 2018

"Banco ADOPEM" MFI supported by ADA ranked among the best sustainable initiatives in Latin America!

Within the framework of the ADA-REDCAMIF project set up between 2012 and 2017, ADA supported the Dominican Republic MFI "Banco ADOPEM" for the development of inclusive rural and environmental financial products and services.
As such, ADOPEM has implemented a range of products called "FRA - Finanzas Rurales y Ambiente (Rural Finance and Environment)", declined in 3 products intended for small producers and agricultural enterprises, as well as women entrepreneurs living in rural areas.

With this initiative, ADOPEM ranks 234th among the TOP 500 of the best sustainable initiatives within the framework of the "Premios Latinoamérica Verde 2018" Prize supported by the UNPD (United Nations Development Programmes), out of a total of 2,733 applications received.

Premios Latinoaméricos Verde





ADOPEM's "FRA - Finanzas Rurales y Ambiente" programme was selected among the top 10 in the "Sustainable Finance" category.

For more information on ADOPEM's "FRA - Finanzas Rurales y Ambiente" products: https://bit.ly/2Nb2mcl

Certificado


February 2018

REDCAMIF launches a partnership with the magazine 'Microempresas & Finanzas'

Iván Gutiérrez Aguirre, Executive Director of REDCAMIF

"The Microfinance Network of Central America and the Caribbean (REDCAMIF), a representative body of microfinance institutions in the region, had long been interested in creating and sharing a way to disseminate information on a large scale, in a entertaining, attractive and up-to-date way, to communicate periodically about the relevant facts of MFIs, their impact on the region-wide economy, and the support provided to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, a key sector for the economies of our countries.

Following this reflection, REDCAMIF has partnered with the magazine Micro Empresas & Finanzas, whose special edition dedicated to microfinance presents the perspectives, achievements, objectives, statistics and success stories of 14 MFIs belonging to REDCAMIF's national networks.

This special edition is available online on https://issuu.com/redcamif/docs/micro_redcamif. It will also be distributed in 3,000 copies in the 7 countries of the region in February.

We thank the affiliated MFIs and ADA for their support in publishing this first edition."


December 2017

Implementation of the REDCAMIF II project from 2018 to 2021

The REDCAMIF II project, signed in December 2017 between the Central American and Caribbean Microfinance Network (REDCAMIF) and ADA, is an extension of the REDCAMIF - ADA alliance created in 2008 and strengthened since then by the implementation of a multi-year project between 2012 and 2017. 
Following an evaluation diagnosis, this new project will focus on identifying the needs of MFI clients, such as building their capacity and improving their access to responsible financial and non-financial services. The goal is also to create an impact in the microfinance sector in general, while involving other stakeholders to strengthen the skills of the regional network and national networks and effectively respond to the demands of their members.

The total amount of the project is € 4.3 million, 50% co-financed by both parties (ADA and REDCAMIF), over the period 2018-2021. ADA and REDCAMIF hope to provide 93 technical assistance training to MFIs in the region over these next four years.

This new project will focus on the following themes: social role, technology, development of high value added financial services, risk management and knowledge management at regional and national level.

Signature REDCAMIF

At the top: Gilles Franck (Vice-President of ADA) ; Fernando Guzman (member of the Board of REDCAMIF) ; Iván Gutiérrez (Exécutive Director of REDCAMIF).
At the bottom: Olivier Massart (Former Executive Director of ADA) ; Carlos Rojas Hidalgo (President of REDCAMIF)

 


May 2017

Systematization workshop of the pilots of Rural Finance and Housing

The objective of this workshop, which took place from 24 to 28 April 2017 in Panama, is to systematize the experience gained during the implementation of the Rural Finance and Housing pilots. This event is part of the knowledge management strategy of the partnership between ADA and REDCAMIF.

Many inclusive finance’s actors were involved: 25 microfinance institutions that were part of rural finance and housing pilots, 7 MFIs from the second pilot phase in 2017, the 7 directors of REDCAMIF national networks, as well as the 7 National Coordinators of Inclusive Financial Services, SICSA, REDCAMIF and ADA.

 

IMG 1639
serinsa 03

March 2017

ADA invests in microinsurance

For the first time since 2011, ADA entered the capital of a microinsurance company. With this investment, ADA wishes to directly influence the development of financial inclusion in Central America.

We are glad to announce that in December 2016 ADA invested USD 100.000 in Servicios Financieros inclusivos S.A, (SERINSA S.A.) and subsequently joined their Board of Directors. The purpose of this investment is to facilitate access to quality microinsurance products for hundreds of micro-entrepreneurs and is part of a wider partnership between ADA and REDCAMIF (the Microfinance Network of Central America and the Caribbean) that dates back to 2007. Through this partnership, ADA has supported different projects, including the microinsurance project co-financed by the IADB (Inter-American Development Bank). ADA will support SERINSA in the mid-term and will seek to disengage after a period of 5 years. This investment is part of ADA’s ongoing commitment to improve the inclusive finance sector around the globe and in this case, specifically in Central America.

SERINSA was the result of REDCAMIF's microinsurance initiative that spun off to be converted into a knowledge management and service provider company. Currently, it focuses its activities on the promotion and development of microinsurance through the national networks affiliated to REDCAMIF. SERINSA was created in 2016 and REDCAMIF is its main shareholder.

This investment as well as all support provided to REDCAMIF and SERINSA by ADA have been made possible thanks to the constant support of the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of Luxembourg.


ECLOF

August 2016

The success of the MFI ECLOF with its new housing loan

The MFI ECLOF from Dominican Republic is one of the participant MFIs in the pilot project of new products development led by ADA-REDCAMIF.

ECLOF adapted and implemented its new housing loan with experts from ADA-REDCAMIF in November 2015. Less than a year later, they already got results that exceed the goals set by the pilot. A success achieved thanks to a product focused on the needs of the local population, the extensive work of the team involved and an effective communication strategy.

ECLOF called its new credit "MejoraFácil". It is granted for the repair or improvement of housing and ranges from minor repairs to major improvements. Moreover, MejoraFácil comes with a service of technical assistance in construction. To provide this service, dedicated teams were set up in every national network, or directly in the MFI that provides housing credit, to advise customers in the technical aspects of their project (selection of materials, suppliers, property rights, etc.) and to ensure that the work is carried out following high international standards. This technical support in construction is an innovation that guarantees the success of this new credit.


August 2016

Micro-leasing launched in Honduras by an MFI partner of ADA and LMDF

In the frame of the project of development of inclusive financial services, REDCAMIF and ADA developed a micro-leasing product for farmers who need to acquire specialised equipment in order to increase the production of their farms.

The IMF Pilarh in Honduras began offering micro-leasing products a few months ago and already got outstanding results. At ADA, we know this MFI very well since we accompanied them in 2011 to obtain financing from the LMDF fund. Today, the LMDF remains a funder of this Pilarh.

So far, two institutions in the region have launched this new product designed specifically for local farmers. The project's success will certainly motivate other MFIs to also begin to diversify their credits offer and start selling products that better meet the needs of micro-entrepreneurs.  


July 2016

Exchange experiences in the field, a key step to remain competitive

The ADA-REDCAMIF pilot project of development of new products began during the second half of 2015. 25 MFIs in Central America and the Dominican Republic are participating in the project with the goal of developing innovative products for their clients. Among these products, we can find rural finance and environment as well as products of social housing and basic services.

After a year of implementation, the general managers of MFIs participating in the pilot and coordinators of national networks that are part of REDCAMIF will meet with REDCAMIF and ADA to share their experiences, challenges and successes along the project to enrich the final stage of the pilots.

This meeting will be held in the framework of the VIII Central American and Caribbean Microfinance Conference whose theme this year is "Technology: Competitiveness and financial inclusion". The competitiveness of MFIs is certainly a current topic as these operate in increasingly complex environments requiring high adaptability. It is with this objective that MFIs taking part in the ADA-REDCAMIF project will get together. There is no doubt that the exchange of knowledge allows to identify and develop better products, more nimbly and at lower cost and improve MFIs’ offer and competitiveness.

The VIII Central American and Caribbean Microfinance Conference will take place from 3 to 5 August 2016 in Managua, Nicaragua, and is organized by the national network of Nicaragua, Asomif, with the support of REDCAMIF, our key partner in Central America and the Caribbean. You can still register to the conference!


 

OPTIMA (El Salvador) - Prêt logement 2

We develop financial products and services to provide access to housing for the poorest.

February 2016

First housing loans paid out in Latin America

ADA's "Expansion of inclusive finance in Central America and the Caribbean" project, which started in 2012, is bearing fruit! The pilot project is a joint endeavour with REDCAMIF and has been rolled out in 14 microfinance institutions (MFIs) active in 7 Latin American countries.

REDCAMIF, a regional network backed by the Inter-American Development Bank, consists of 7 microfinance networks bringing together a total of 133 MFIs. 14 of its member institutions were chosen to develop housing financial products, a segment which addresses people's primal need for housing and was identified in a preliminary diagnosis of the requirements of clients in the region.

The aim of the project is threefold:

  • building local capacity through the creation of units specialising in product development in the national microfinance networks of these 7 countries;
  • supporting MFIs in the expansion of their housing product range with technical assistance for construction (TAC) in order to mitigate risk for clients and MFIs alike; and
  • facilitating access to adequate housing by underprivileged people.

This is a step-by-step project based on the development of a range of products spanning various levels of complexity for financing, as well as technical assistance for construction. The latter includes 6 financial products:

  • loans for the complete or gradual renovation of housing;
  • loans for purchasing or legalising land;
  • loans for the gradual or complete construction of housing;
  • loans for purchasing new or second-hand housing and related fees;
  • loans for setting up basic utilities (electricity, drinking water, etc.); and
  • home savings plans.

This pilot project aims to improve the housing conditions of 1,400 rural clients via 14 microfinance institutions. 4 of these 14 partners, World Relief in Honduras, Banco Delta in Panama, ECLOF in the Dominican Republic and MUDE in Guatemala, have already disbursed the first housing loans. A total of more than 140 loans have been granted for a total portfolio size of 2.5 million dollars.


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