LICU-BRFP – Giving life to dreams and aspirations

The Belize Rural Finance Programme (BRFP) is financed jointly by the Government of Belize, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and six participating credit unions, of which LICU is one. The objective of this programme is to improve the quality of life of the rural poor of Belize by providing them access to a wide range of superior financial services that meet their needs at an affordable cost through an effective outreach program.

The BRFP is comprised of three main components:

  1. Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) of all project participants including the Central Bank of Belize, Belize Credit Union League, the participating credit unions, and the members of the credit union;
  2. The Shares and Saving Incentive (SSI) component is designed to promote and foster rural savings by providing an incentive to members of qualifying households who wish to participate and develop a sound habit of saving to build their capital. Beneficiaries who qualify to participate may receive a matching grant of one dollar Belize for each dollar saved for a maximum matching grant of $80.00 on shares and $120.00 on savings over a three year period; and,
  3. The Rural Credit Fund (RCF) is a revolving credit facility which the programme has made available to participating credit unions, through the DFC to finance a range productive and other activities for the rural poor.

This is the third year in which LICU participates in this programme and, with support from other projects, we have assumed responsibility for most of the operational expenses incurred in this outreach effort as part of our sustainability strategy. In 2013 we saw an increase of 257 new members and a mobilization of $24,728.92 from the rural communities specifically due to this effort. To date this programme has enrolled a total of 788 new participants with a total mobilization in savings and loans of $941,521.22.

In the latter part of 2013 LICU was invited to participate in the RCF component of the BRFP with a credit facility of BZ 1,000,000.00;LICU has earmarked most of these funds to finance productive economic activities and MSEs. As part of the capacity building efforts of the programme to prepare LICU for the RCF, our outreach staff has been involved in various training sessions in credit delivery and other technical sessions.