We are excited to announce that Spartan Global is planning to a research trip to our field partner in Guatemala, As Green As It Gets, from December 27, 2017 to January 5, 2018! This will be the first time any Spartan Global student, both past and present, will visit one of our field partners. Read more below to find out what we will be doing while abroad, the benefit this will provide to students, and how this will positively impact Spartan Global for years to come.
Since October 2016, Spartan Global has facilitated $4,300 in microloans to several entrepreneurs to our field partner in Guatemala, As Green As It Gets. These loans have been used as a capital investment for business owners specializing in coffee farming, coffee processing and roasting, and metalworking.
Given the global nature of our work, it is easy to feel detached from our loan recipients and the impact of our work. We understand our impact, yet, it can be difficult to see the tangible results of our loans. This research trip will allow the ten student members of Spartan Global participating to engage directly with these recent microloan recipients in Guatemala and gain on-the-ground exposure to microfinance. Ultimately, this will advance the education of trip participants. With the help of the Eli Broad College of Business, a documentary will be produced afterwards chronicling Spartan Global student experiences abroad.
During our time in Guatemala, we will have the opportunity to participate in various research and engagement activities:
Homestays with local artisans and farmers where students will partake in daily cultural cooking lessons.
Visit coffee fields to harvest coffee with farmers Jonny and Alberto Hernandez who received a $1,378 loan from SGDF in June 2017 to understand coffee growing and harvesting processes.
Learn how to roast coffee with Victor Catavi to see how a SGDF loan has impacted his business. Victor received a $1,500 loan in October 2016 to purchase a coffee roaster and other equipment. He has since seen a profit growth of 240% of the value of the loan.
Meet with Carlos Diaz, a local metal artisan, who was given a $1,100 loan in June 2017 to grow his metalworking business. Students will have the chance to see Carlos' progress thus far and experience a day-in-the-life while working alongside Carlos in his shop.
Tour textile markets in Antigua, Guatemala to engage with weavers, producers, and exporters. This will give participants insider access and perspectives into one of the country's largest industries.
Interview loan recipients about the impacts of Spartan Global microloans on their businesses and how this has then changed their livelihoods, the financial standing of their families, and how the community has benefited.
Spartan Global students will also be able to network and have round-table discussions with other economic development leaders in the area to learn more about the challenges and opportunities associated with microfinance and sustainable economic development.
Stay tuned to see what we learn from our time in Guatemala, how Spartan Global has impacted communities around the world, and the power of microfinance.