Millions of people live in poverty and have very limited opportunity and resources to improve their situation. Fundación Paraguaya (FP) develops innovative solutions to poverty and unemployment in Paraguay and proactively disseminates them around the world. By providing empowerment, education and appropriate financial tools, the FP helps the underprivileged to help themselves. FP is a leader in microfinance, financial and entrepreneurial education for children and youth as well as financially sustainable schools. Since its inception, FP has created 73,000 jobs and served over 200,000 children and youth.
Triple-bottom line of social, economic and environmental impact through our programs and initiatives. Since its foundation, FP has created over 73,000 jobs, served over 120,000 children and youth with entrepreneurial education programs, and graduated over 300 high school students, 100% of whom are productively engaged after graduation.
Microfinance Program: small and emerging low-income entrepreneurs ages 20-65 living below the poverty line in urban, rural and remote areas of Paraguay. Close to 80% of our borrowers are low-income women entrepreneurs.
Self-sufficient Schools Program: Paraguayan youth ages 15-20 from chronically poor families from rural areas and indigenous groups, usually living below the poverty line and some in extreme poverty. Out of the three schools we currently run in Paraguay, 2 are co-ed and 1 is only for adolescent girls. Two additional schools in Paraguay will open shortly.
Entrepreneurial Education Program: Paraguayan children and youth ages 6-20, mostly from low-income families in urban and rural areas and attending public schools. In terms of gender, approximately 50% of this program’s beneficiaries are female, and 50% male.
FP programs pursue a triple bottom line to achieve financial, social and environmental sustainability. As regards financial sustainability, each new programs seeks to become financially sustainable within 5 years; to the extent that our programs have a surplus, these surpluses are reinvested in other programs. Our programs are socially sustainable because they are holistic, inclusive and participatory. Our pursuit of environmental sustainability has led us to adopt organic agricultural methods at our agricultural schools, teach entrepreneurial skills in the context of environmental protection, and create a Financially Self-Sufficient School in one of South America’s most important forest reserves, so that local girls can learn how to make a decent living running small businesses that are compatible with conservation of the natural environment.
FP has a long history of innovation. Founded in 1985, it was the first microfinance institution in Paraguay and a founding member of the Acción International microfinance network. It established the first women’s village banking program in Paraguay in 2005. In 1995, the foundation pioneered financial literacy and entrepreneurial education programs, adapting Junior Achievement methodology to the needs of underprivileged youth. In 2003, FP began developing a new, financially sustainable model of technical/vocational education designed to transform low-income rural youth, prone to chronic unemployment, into “rural entrepreneurs.” This Financially Self-Sufficient School program is unique as it offers graduates of the 3-year high school program 100% employability, through a 100% market-based curriculum, while generating 100% of the income required to cover the school’s operating expenses. Schools following this model are able to achieve this by setting up microenterprises on their campuses which sell goods and services in the local market. These microenterprises serve both as training platforms for students and as the means for generating income to cover school operating costs.
Since all of the FP’s programs are adaptable to local circumstances and are designed to achieve financial self-sufficiency, they are all highly replicable and scalable. For example, our financially self-sufficient school model and our entrepreneurial education programs for children and youth are now being replicated elsewhere in Latin America and in Africa.
Source of funding
FP’s programs are self-funding, ensuring future continuity, sustainable growth, and offering the independence to innovate. As such, any profit made by the organization is re-invested in its programs. This prevents us from depending on long-term donor support and government subsidies that could risk the continuity of our programs.