Since our last update, we have been busy in the field! Thanks to your support, we were able to locate 468 heavily indebted market vendors in Cagayan de Oro and pay off high-interest rate debt totaling over $25,000. Additionally, we have been able to introduce 234 of these vendors to a local bank offering free savings accounts to encourage the vendors to rely on savings rather than borrowing money in the future. With all vendors in the study, we were able to administer a baseline survey and two follow-up surveys with three more on the way. We also gave the vendors a brief "pep-talk" about the importance of saving and how interest payments on debt add up over time and prevent their businesses from growing. The purpose of our survey effort is to follow the vendors over time to see when or if they borrow money at high interest rates in the future and also to follow their spending, investment, savings and business habits.
We look forward to updating you as the program continues, as it offers not only immediate debt repayment to assist vendors but will ultimately provide the community with useful data on whether this program effectively reduces debt in the long-term by providing access to alternative financial products.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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