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. Through this program, they benefit an even greater number of their neighbors. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, community teams enhanced their programs to benefit more households,. Also, increasing their respective capacities will 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. When the order went into effect, they immediately made 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. This is less expensive than having buying it at retail markets at a steep mark-up. They negotiate a fair price, and arrange for suppliers to deliver the rice to a central location. Doing this makes it accessible by all participating households.

These households are all members of their respective Community-Based Organizations, or CBOs. This means they’re active, committed members of the team, and they contribute to the work underway in a meaningful capacity. They use this process, instead of a more traditional one where a CBO furnishes supplies to anyone who asks, which would not be a sustainable model. 

A Heaping Helping

As soon as suppliers deliver the rice, team members furnish it, bag-by-bag, to low-income households. This means that these families couldn’t afford to pay for food at market prices. Over time, each recipient repays the cost of their food loan into a community-managed fund. The fund then generates growth through each loan’s very, very modest interest rate. This fund will cover the costs of further rice acquisition. And this, in turn, will provide a renewable, sustainable means of food stability for each household. As evidence of this, their most recent distribution became 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. They become responsible for accounting, accessing resources from outside vendors, and of course, teamwork.

How to Help

Rice loans are just one of the myriad ways Outreach partners overcome the issues they face. These are hardships they deal with as individuals and as members of a community. Together, our partners are forging a path toward brighter horizons. They work toward future where they define their lives by opportunity, instead of need. And 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!