More than five million people in the fishing villages and rural towns of the Philippines live in poverty. The government, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program, is helping people lift themselves out of poverty through classes for aspiring entrepreneurs and microloans.
The Amatorio family, fishermen, never had it easy. Eight children to support and an income they could never count on.
If you're in the fishing business there are many variables. Sometimes we don't catch anything.
They are far from alone. Five million people here in the Philippines live in poverty: millions in small fishing villages and rural towns, millions more in crowded slums in the cities. One way to help the poor break from poverty is to provide them with small loans, from 50 to 100 dollars, to start their own businesses. And that's exactly what's happening. Whether a loan to help a couple buy a sewing machine to open a tailoring business, or two friends to open a nursery selling bougainvilleas, local banks, with financial support from the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year available to those who could otherwise never meet loan requirements.
It's a very powerful tool for poverty alleviation.
And its one tool that loan recipients are taking very seriously, says Aris Alip, manager of a UNDP supported bank.
They are very disciplined, because this is the first time they are given trust and they don't want to destroy the trust.
Groups make a point to meet weekly, like this one in the northern Philippines, to create financial plans, make loan payments and offer each other advice and encouragement. While participants on average see their per capita income more than double, the benefit of the program is more than just financial.
You bring back the dignity that was once in them that they have lost and with this, they are able to gain confidence and are able to improve their quality of life.
Which is the case for the Amatorio's. After receiving a loan, they now not only have a steady income, they own six businesses, including a furniture shop and a fishery. Today more than one million people (more than 20 percent of the nation's poor) have access to credit loans, and the number keeps growing. United Nations Television prepared this report.