Seth Derish, president of the Costa Rica School Project, Inc., has announced the formation of a small non-profit loan program to service the rural community of Zaragoza de Nicoya, Guanacaste. The initial capitalization of this project will be $10,000, which will provide up to 20 low-interest loans with maximum terms of 24 months and $500 each, he said.
The program has already received over 20 applications from residents, who are seeking funds for the improvement of their coffee farms, purchase of more livestock, and some new projects such as a home sewing operation, Derish said. All applications will be reviewed by a three-person loan committee comprised of Zaragoza community members with final approval made by the Costa Rica School Project management, he said.
Derish said the program is modeled on the successful Grameen Bank, run by Muhammad Yunus, which began in Bangladesh in 1976 with $27 and later grew to serve over seven million families with loans over $6 billion.
Derish said the program, called The Costa Rica Micro Lending Facility, will accept funds from readers. More information is available at the program’s Web site