The General Assembly of Micoope Colua in Solula, Guatemala has committed 10% of its profits to support social projects in local communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The support is being provided through the credit union’s Social Responsibility Unit, whose team members set out to better the health, safety and economic situations in those communities.
Sanitization and disinfection
When the crisis started, the first step taken by the Social Responsibility Unit was to investigate and get advice to be technically prepared. They identified that limiting exposure to COVID-19 in the highest traffic areas would be crucial, so they purchased cleaning and disinfection equipment to reduce the risk of infection.
A sanitation and disinfection program for common areas was created, which includes markets, health centers, credit union branches and main streets. In coordination with the authorities, a prioritization schedule was established, which includes the disinfection of markets, both before and after the hours of operation.
The initiative has been so successful that residents now support the cleaning and disinfecting efforts as well. The community of Santa Lucia Utatlán - Aldea EL Novillero, upon request, was supported with the purchase of a hydro-washing machine so that residents could carry out the process themselves.
Supplies and financial support
The Social Responsibility Unit then focused their efforts on supporting the economic reopening of the area by purchasing goods from local producers for redistribution to needy families.
For example, the donut producers, who go from fair to fair selling their products, have not been able to do that during the pandemic—so members of the Social Responsibility Unit purchased donuts from them. In the community of Santa Clara la Laguna, team members bought baskets and mugs from local artisans. The same was done in the markets, with the purchase of food and other items. Team members then created aid packages, or bags of food and supplies, comprised of the merchandise they purchased.
The second priority was to ensure those aid packages were distributed to people most in need. A socioeconomic study was conducted to identify the families most at risk—with aid packages delivered to them first. And membership in the credit union was not considered in this process. Many of the producers, artisans and families helped through the program are not associated with Micoope Colua.
The activities carried out have helped to alleviate people's concerns, given the Micoope Colua team members and other volunteers a sense of community spirit, and created unity in a time it is desperately needed.
Cooperativa Colua is part of Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito de Guatemala (FENACOAC), World Council’s direct member organization in Guatemala. FENACOAC is also a World Council partner in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Cooperative Development Program.