CRS´s Private Service Provider (PSP) delivery channel, based on a fee-for-service and certification, became operational in conjunction with the Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) model. To help expand the PSPs support services and continue forming and supporting SILC groups throughout the project period and beyond, USAID´s Communities Leading Development (CLD) project invited four female PSPs from the Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán, and Huehuetenango departments to a training workshop with Construfácil, a member of the largest network of hardware and construction material stores in the country.
The initiative has linked the four PSPs to the Construfácil salesforce through a series of pieces of training that they have started. In their first workshop, the PSPs learned about the company products, sales procedures, and how to help SILC groups invest their savings and access building materials for a dignified home.
“This is an initiative that we hope to scale and turn into a project to support the Private Service Providers, mainly women and youth to expand their business opportunities, joining a salesforce with companies like Construfácil.” -Sofía León, CLD staff.
CLD has formed and trained 137 self-managed savings and credit SILC groups with support from 12 PSPs, mostly women, who were recruited and received – a learning scholarship. After a ninemonth training and practice period, agents passed an examination process and were certified as PSPs, and from that moment, offered their financial training and support services to SILCs at an accessible fee for people in rural areas.
A combination of financial and social incentives drives the PSPs´ work, which is no longer constrained by the project timeline.
“I learned about construction materials, decorative materials for bathrooms and kitchens; and how to join the company salesforce. I want to learn more and share this information with my SILC groups because people in our community need guidance on how to better invest their savings: like starting a business or making home improvements for a more dignified home.” -Jessica Escalante, PSP during the workshop.
The linking of PSPs to the Construfácil salesforce is significant as it promotes the diversification of PSP services to respond to the many needs in a community; PSPs will continue to train SILC groups to save and to provide loans, provide them with training on financial education, and most importantly, they will provide guidance to invest in improvements to quality of life.