A rice-loan participant in the Philippines holds a bag containing a supply of rice

Rice-loan programs do more than keep families fed — they give communities valuable experience in managing funds, coordinating logistics and building new business relationships with vendors.

Our friends in the Philippines have been busy furthering their low-interest, community-run rice loan program to benefit an even greater number of their neighbors. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, community teams were enhancing their programs to benefit more households, and increasing their respective capacities to streamline the process of both acquisition and distribution of rice. By the time public health concerns led to government-mandated home-isolation orders for community members, they were prepared to make the necessary adjustments to continue furnishing short-term rice loans to families without interruption.

Portion Control

The program works like this: Local community leaders work directly with suppliers to obtain rice at wholesale prices, rather than having to buy it at retail markets at a steep mark-up. They negotiate a fair price, and arrange for the bags of rice to be delivered to a central location, accessible by all participating households.

These households are all members of their respective Community-Based Organizations, or CBOs, meaning they are active, committed members of the team, and contribute to the work underway in a meaningful capacity, as opposed to a situation where a CBO furnishes supplies to anyone who asks, which would not be a sustainable model. 

A Heaping Helping

Once the rice is delivered, it is furnished, bag-by-bag, to families whose level of household income is too low to afford food at market prices. Over time, each recipient repays the cost of their food loan into a community-managed fund, which generates growth through loans’ very, very modest interest rates. This fund will cover the costs of further rice acquisition, and provide a renewable, sustainable means of food stability for each household. As evidence of this, their most recent distribution was the 22nd successful cycle of their rice loan project!

The rice loan program is a simple, sustainable system with benefits beyond the dinner table. Managing the program equips community members with valuable experience in accounting, accessing resources from outside vendors, and of course, teamwork.

How to Help

Rice loans are just one of the myriad ways Outreach partners are overcome the issues they face as individuals and as members of a community. Together, our partners are forging a path toward brighter horizons; a future where they define their lives by opportunity, instead of need. Outreach donors make it possible — it’s through the trust and generosity of our donors that great stories like this emerge on a regular basis. The best part? YOU can be a part of it! 100% of all donations to Outreach go completely and directly to our work in the field. Join us today!