NEW! Annual Report for 2021 was just released - Check out the latest updates from Wisconsin Microfinance. 2021 Annual Report

Microfinance plays a critical role

The Dominican Republic is a Spanish-speaking nation located on the eastern portion of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The western side of Hispaniola is the country of Haiti.  As of 2020, 40.4% of the Dominican population was living in poverty, with 10.4% living in extreme poverty.

Though the Dominican Republic was impacted less by COVID than other Caribbean countries, GDP still decreased 6.7% in 2020 because of the country’s heavy reliance on tourism dollars. According to the World Bank “disparities in access to economic opportunities and public services remain deep. Poverty rates are persistently high in rural areas, and women face disproportionate challenges nationwide.”  Though just over half of Dominicans have bank accounts, lower-income households have 23 percent fewer bank accounts than higher-income families.  We believe we can play an important role in addressing this disparity.

Female employment was dramatically impacted by COVID and little progress has been seen in job creation for women. As the pandemic recedes, providing access to capital will be vital to the DR’s continued development. The 2020 Human Capital Index estimates that a child born in the DR today will be only half as productive over her lifetime as she would have been had she received a complete education and proper healthcare. The DR has made great strides in expanding access to education and healthcare, but the uneven quality of these services remains a major obstacle to broad-based economic growth and human capital development.

Shacks in the Dominican Republic

A new partnership - Fundación Guanín

Our partner in the DR is Fundación Centro Cultural Guanín (Fundación Guanín) which was founded by Elias Severino Hernández (Sev) in 2001.  Their mission is to “cultivate a community of leaders and role models for generations to come”.  Sev has a long-standing relationship with Wisconsin Microfinance board member Joe Bonnell, and under Joe’s leadership, Sev agreed to create a microfinance program for members of the La Piedra community.

"Microfinance stands as one of the most promising and cost-effective tools in the fight against global poverty."

—Jonathan Morduch (NYU Professor most well-known for his contributions in assessing the impact of microfinance.)

Support our Dominican Republic program

Your support is needed to improve the lives of countless Dominican entrepreneurs. Please consider donating today!