RPCV initiative tops $1 Million in Microloans (Colombia)


In 2000, when 25,000 families were displaced annually by violence in Colombia, RPCVs started The Colombia Project, a loan program to help families reestablish financial independence. It soon evolved to include any marginalized community and became TCP [The Colombia Project] Global in 2015, expanding to Niger, Guatemala and Peru. In October, this 100% volunteer effort achieved a significant milestone: $1 Million in loans issued.

Women peanut farmers in Babangatu, Niger received TCP Global Micro-Loan

When 7,300 Peace Corps Volunteers were evacuated worldwide in March, due to the Corona Virus, six evacuees joined the TCP Global team, bringing new energy and creativity. The program went viral, adding thirty new sites, including five introduced by evacuees who worked with their counterparts virtually to introduce micro-loan programs.

TCP Global currently serves fourteen countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  An average loan is $210, ranging from $50 in Niger to $698 in Peru. While the program works anywhere, TCP focuses on underserved, small, and remote communities.

Co-founder, Helene Dudley, says “The goal is to create opportunities so migration becomes a choice rather than a necessity. It took twenty years for the first one million in loans, but we expect to reach the next million by 2025.”

Key RPCVs involved with the project are:

Helene Ballmann Dudley (Colombia 1968-70)
Rita Novak (Colombia 1973-75)
Tim Lawler (Colombia 1973-74)
Andrew Koch (Colombia 2016-18)
Shea Brennan (Colombia 2018-20)
Josh Concanno (Colombia 2018-20)
Zack Coen (Colombia 2018-20)
Elyse Magen (Colombia 2018-20)
Kenney Tran (Colombia 2018-20)
Curt Commander (Colombia 2019-20)
Chris Roesel (Guatemala 1973-75)
Michelle Kennedy Daniels (Nepal 1991-93)


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  • Helene and her team have worked tirelessly for years to establish this extremely successful program. Now it is so gratifying to see how different Peace Corps generations come together to jump it to new countries and even greater success. Bravo to all. How high the moon??!

  • After Peace Corps, I got advanced degrees in nutrition and public health, reviewed the best health programs in the world, then worked in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In 1986, I worked with a women’s savings and loans program in Bangladesh and saw how it changed the lives of the rural women who participated. This year, volunteering to work with a rural community in Uganda, as a 71 year old, women asked me to help 180 of them in 6 groups by giving them more money to loan out. They quickly achieved return rates of 250-350% on micro-loans. That sold me. Shortly afterwards, TCP Global (https://tcp-global.silkstart.com/campaigns/tcp-global-and-national-peace-corps-association-micro-loan-program) invited me to join with them, extending loans in Uganda. I signed up, work hours every week with micro-loan groups in Africa, and donated money. Socially isolated at home during COVID-19, listening to depressing political campaign propaganda, I Zoom with women entrepreneurs in various African countries. This work gives me hope for the world. Join with us!

  • Awesome work by Helene and team. Truly living and acting upon the continuation of playing a part in making the world a better place. Kudos to all of you.

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