We can stand on our own and do something. We will just go straight. Go, go forward.
Create from Scratch or Rebuild from the Embers, PCI’s Community Development Society
Regina is a remarkable woman. At her home in Zambia, she glows with a new life as she tells us, “This group has really changed me. It is a group of solving problems.” Regina found herself asking, “What do I do? Should I also die?” when she lost everything she had held as security, including her husband who left her, leaving her alone with and six children and no source of income or support system. Then she began to hear of PCI’s WE groups, in which women of the community save finances together while learning to develop strong local businesses.
Now Regina is a leader in her community and a role model to other women in her group. She keeps her eyes on the road ahead instead of the tragedies that are behind her.
Regina’s story is only one of many examples of people whose lives have been elevated by PCI’s Community Development programs. Sustainable community development is the centerpiece around which all of PCI’s efforts are built.
After 50 years of experience working in communities living in poverty around the world, key learnings form the foundation for everything we do and for our distinct approach to international health and development programming. We know that the problems of poor health and poverty are inseparable, and that there is no simple or single solution. We know that sustainable solutions require individual and community ownership, and must address the root causes of the problems they face. We know that the job is too big for any one organization and that it takes partnerships, from the community level to business interests, through government, to succeed in the long-term. Finally, we know that the ability to measure the real results and impact of our work, not just the activities, is critical to justify investment in our programs and in our organization.
Community Development Organization
PCI’s Women Empowered (WE) Initiative
PCI has harnessed the power toward proactive change with its Women Empowered (WE) Initiative. PCI’s Women Empowered Initiative is a global effort to promote the economic and social empowerment of women through the formation of self-managed and self-sustaining savings groups.
PCI’s Women Empowered (WE) Initiative is a groundbreaking economic development model that gives impoverished women more control over their future. PCI believes that through the opportunities of microfinance, women are the solution to poverty, poor health and vulnerability. Through WE, women can create social and economic empowerment for themselves, their families and their communities.
The WE Initiative’s savings-led microfinance model positions women as leaders, training 15-20 women to form a self-organized and self-managed savings group within their communities. Through these groups, women learn valuable social and business skills, pool their own resources, and are provided with opportunities to network and participate in community development activities. By positioning women as decision makers and facilitating connections within their local communities, we empower them as agents of transformation within their families, ethnic communities and broader society.
PCI believes that women who are empowered become solutions to poverty, poor health and vulnerability for their families and within their communities. Incredible potential is reached with the benefit of support, financial resources and ongoing encouragement.
Community Economic Development
From a global perspective, microfinance organizations envision a world in which low-income households have permanent access to a range of high quality and affordable financial services offered by a range of retail providers to finance income-producing activities, build assets, stabilize consumption, and protect against risks.
In 2006, PCI started its first ever microfinance institution, Planned Social Concern (PSC), in rural Rajasthan, India. PCI began PSC with a very small “seed capital” loan from the Grameen Trust of Bangladesh and, over time, significant amounts of donated capital from a group of San Diego-area private supporters known collectively as the “Jaipur Investors.” PSC is now a sustainable, pro-poor bank that has loaned more than US$2,300,000 to over 10,000 women entrepreneurs, including nearly 4,000 women over the past 12 months, leading to growth in local businesses, household incomes, and the health and well-being of participating families.
Community Development – Rebuilding
Disaster Relief and Recovery
PCI provides disaster relief, helps people rebuild their lives, and works with communities to be better prepared to respond when a crisis occurs.
In many countries where PCI works, even small shocks and stresses can have devastating and long-term effects on families – their health, safety, livelihoods, access to clean water and sanitation, food and housing.
PCI provides humanitarian assistance to people affected by disasters and complex emergencies; helps governments, local organizations, and communities better manage risk and respond to emergencies when they arise; and integrates efforts to help reduce vulnerability to disasters into all of its ongoing programs.
PCI’s humanitarian assistance programs address protection for vulnerable populations; water, sanitation and hygiene; health; shelter and housing; livelihoods; and education in emergencies. We emphasize identifying the most vulnerable; those people in remote, hard-to-reach areas or in difficult and crowded urban centers; and we engage children, youth, women, the disabled, the elderly and marginalized groups.