Microfinancing: ‘Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime, seems to be the mantra of Append, a nonstock nonprofit, charitable, educational, social welfare development, and civic service organization. The only difference is that Append believes in ‘poverty eradication through microfinancing’ – enabling the underprivileged to engage in entrepreneurial ventures through assisted financing and to eventually empower the marginalized to improve their quality of life.
What is microfinancing? Microfinance is a category of financial services targeted at individuals and small businesses who lack access to conventional banking. It includes microcredit, the provision of small loans to clients; savings and checking accounts; microinsurance; and payment systems. Microfinance services are designed to be affordable to clients to help them become self-sufficient. In simple terms, call it ‘pautang’ but it is ‘pautang for an entrepreneurial cause’.
Imagine the world without microfinancing. More appropriately, imagine the world with a large percentage of the poor and marginalized with no access to opportunity – an opportunity that is available to the financially abled few. This is where Append comes in. Formerly known as the Alliance of Philippines Partners in Enterprise, Append is SEC-registered and accredited by COMELEC as a sectoral party-list organization in 2012, representing the micro-enterprise and microfinance sector. Its mission: to help reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of the people and the natural environment’.
The core programs and services provided by Append includes the following: 1.) micro-enterprise development and microfinance; 2.) education and youth program; 3.) community development through enterprise creation, environment conservation, and leadership development; 4.) micro-insurance; 5.) training such as disaster preparedness, family strengthening, values formation, and gender development; 6.) value chain for agriculture; and 7.) social services such as relief operations, medical missions, feeding program, water, sanitation, and health.
What has Append done to alleviate poverty in the country? To date, Append was able to assist more than 6 million families with microfinance in the country, provided more than Php 125M worth of livelihood for indigenous peoples, helped over 27 thousand scholars nationwide, and provided more than Php 758M worth of medical missions, health and sanitation, and burial assistance to name a few. The organization was also able to pass R.A. 10693, known as the Microfinance NGO Act, an act strengthening the non-government organizations with microfinance operations for the poor. Append was also able to co author R.A. 10645, the ‘the mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all senior citizens’; R.A. 10644, ‘the Go Negosyo Act for SME’; R.A. 10643, ‘the Graphic Health Warning Law’; R.A. 10754, ‘the Persons with Disabilities Vat Exemption Act’; and R.A. 10679, ‘the Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy act for the Youth’. However, with all this, Append aspires to do more.
Append Party List and the Philippine Government. Why not give the poor a chance to a better life? Microfinancing provides opportunity to the poor and marginalized sector who lack access to conventional banking – this opportunity can help the benefactor pull themselves and their family out of poverty. Aside from that, microfinancing helps create new employment opportunities – which has a beneficial impact on the local economy. Append Party List is campaigning for the upcoming election this 2019. Once elected, the party list will be representing the micro-enterprise and microfinance sector.