Kompanion Bank combines development and conservation
Praxis funding empowers and educates small farmers
Kompanion Bank is a microfinance institution (MFI) that provides loans and technical support to rural clients who run small-holder farms or raise livestock. Kompanion was organized in 2004 through the consolidation of five microcredit agencies that were affiliated with Mercy Corps. They seek to combine conservation and development goals and focus on environmental issues such as land use and management, waste management and recycling, green real estate, organic crop cultivation, and sound use of water resources.
Since its formation, Kompanion has disbursed more than one million loans totaling approximately $628 million. They help promote sustainable agriculture and natural resource management through loans to small scale farmers, herders, and shepherds in Kyrgyzstan. Participants also receive business development training and technical support on topics such as home gardening and animal husbandry, allowing them to achieve more nutritious and productive lifestyles.
Kompanion also offers a three-year training program specifically for residents around the Issyk-Kul Lake on how to best grow apples in the area, an example of the long-term commitment the bank has to its clients. Residents interested in joining the program share their knowledge and experience with one another, attend training sessions, and learn when and how to take out a loan. Those who had previously struggled with planting and growing trees around the lake now know more about soil erosion, when to use fertilizer, and how to widen branches to improve growth.
Kompanion Bank measures its impact to understand whether it is reaching its goal of enabling its clients to improve their lives. To date their work has reached over 30,000 households in half of the villages in Kyrgyzstan.
Praxis Mutual Funds® supports organizations such as Kompanion Bank through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.