We Don’t Do Loans. We Do Leverage.

What it means to empower the poor

Five Talents does not charge interest and does not provide loan capital to individuals. We used to do this, but over the years Five Talents has developed a model that we believe is much more effective at empowering the poor.

 Members of a savings group for peer to peer lending in Burundi

Understanding Peer to Peer lending

Instead of using donor's gifts to make loans that could make a new entrepreneur dependent, our partners use funds donated to Five Talents to provide training and to establish and equip local groups to save and invest their own resources. These groups then provide a platform to launch and develop locally-owned businesses. This approach is effective and sustainable.

Why Leverage Lifts More Out of Poverty

Even in the world's poorest and most vulnerable areas there are existing resources that can be leveraged as communities learn to save and invest together. In Five Talents savings groups, an individual may start by saving as little as 50 cents a week. As he or she saves together with neighbors and friends in a small group, each person learns business skills and tools for financial management and business development.

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

-Archimedes

After a short period of saving together, the group has enough funds to begin offering loans to its members. These start as small loans of $5 to $50. But these small amounts are enough to help each family start or expand their own small business. Over time these businesses grow, and the new entrepreneurs repay and recycle the funds in growing increments throughout the group.

 Peer to peer lending empowers the poor

Peer to peer lending empowers the poor

The Difference Leverage Makes

By investing in training, Five Talents can mobilize and leverage local knowledge and skills to build sustainable businesses. By working with communities and in small groups, Five Talents can leverage existing social networks and capital. By using a “savings-first” approach, Five Talents can mobilize and leverage local resources to create long-term financial solutions.

Leverage means that every dollar given to Five Talents reaches more families, accomplishes more good, and delivers lasting results.

So, go ahead, make a gift to Five Talents and let your impact be leveraged:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Five Talents Celebrates Impact Makers

MCLEAN, VIRGINIA

 Jim Oakes receives the lifetime achievement award.

Over the years, Five Talents has been blessed with a wonderful family of friends and supporters. These faithful friends have helped us to grow Five Talents from a small charity with a big heart to a world class leader in Christian economic development. Recently, we recognized one of these key impact makers during a Twentieth Anniversary Celebration.

Jim Oakes has been a champion of development among the vulnerable poor and and has been actively involved in ministry with Five Talents for over fifteen years.

 Lifetime achievement award

Jim has traveled numerous times for Five Talents around the world including 6 trips to South Sudan. As a long-time Board Member and Board Chairman, Jim has volunteered countless hours to build, support, and encourage the ministry of Five Talents, even dedicating an entire year to volunteer as Five Talents acting Executive Director.

Because of Jim’s faithful service, Five Talents is pleased to award him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

What is Poverty? A Definition from Five Talents

 Five Talents serves the poorest and most vulnerable communities in developing countries

Most dictionaries define poverty as having "inferior quality or insufficient amount." 

The World Health Organization defines poverty as when individual or household income is below what is needed for sustenance.

More specifically, The World Bank identifies extreme poverty when per capita income is below the international poverty, which is currently set at $1.90 per day.

Extreme Poverty is defined by the United Nations as "a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services."

While these definitions are helpful, they are also inadequate. Poverty must be experienced to be understood. Among the poor, poverty is understood in terms of shame, powerlessness, hopelessness, and humiliation. Walk in the shoes of the poor and you will understand that:

Poverty is an unmet need and an unfulfilled longing. Poverty is lack of food, shelter, and everything good. Poverty is being sick and unable to see a doctor. Poverty is never having an opportunity to go to school. Poverty means not knowing how to read and write. Poverty is clothes that don't fit. Poverty is standing on the outside looking in. Poverty is dirty water you must drink. Poverty is a man without a job and a family without a home. Poverty is a long walk without shoes. Poverty is illness without treatment. Poverty is pain in the stomach. Poverty is vulnerability to every scheme, lie, and cheat. Poverty is an empty refrigerator. Poverty is no refrigerator, no stove, no electricity. Poverty is one toilet for one hundred neighbors. Poverty is a thief in the night. Poverty is a drunk father. Poverty is a child lost to preventable disease. Poverty is a mother weeping. Poverty is injustice without appeal. Poverty is cruel. Poverty is stress. Poverty is shame. Poverty is famine. Poverty is war. Poverty is pain. Poverty is life without life. Poverty marginalizes, poverty suffocates, and poverty kills.

More than 3 billion people live in poverty. In the time it took you to read this definition, twenty six of them just died. Eight died of lower respiratory infections. Six died of starvation. Five died of water borne disease. Four died of HIV/AIDS. Two died of malaria. One died in childbirth.

At Five Talents, we fight poverty. Find out how.

Sources:

  1. World Health Organization. Multidimensional Poverty. Accessed 2018.
  2. World Bank. The 2017 global poverty update from the World Bank. 10/16/2017.
  3. United Nations. Report of the World Summit for Social Development. March 6th - 12th, 1995.
  4. Narayan, Deeta. (2000). Poverty is powerlessness and voicelessness. 37. 18-21.
  5. Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. Black, Robert E et al. The Lancet, Volume 382, Issue 9890, 427 - 451.
  6. Top Ten Causes of Death by Country Income Group, World Health Organization (2012)
  7. Pneumonia and diarrhoea: Tackling the deadliest diseases for the world's poorest children, UNICEF (2012)
  8. Levels and Trends in Child Mortality; UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN-DESA Population Division (2015)

Meet Salome, a Tanzanian Entrepreneur

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Salome started selling vegetables from a small stand in Iringa, Tanzania. Thanks to training and three small loans from a Five Talents partner, she has grown her business into a vegetable market and then started a tailoring service.

With increasing profits and a diversified business, she no longer has to worry about cash flow problems for her farming activities. And with the additional funds, she has built her own home!

Salome is just one of over 100,000 entrepreneurs and their families who have benefited from the ministry of Five Talents.

Learn more about how you can get involved:

Five Talents Announces New Office Location

FALLS CHURCH, VA: Five Talents USA, a global leader in catalyzing business among the extreme poor, announces a new office location.

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Starting this week, the Five Talents USA headquarters relocates to a facility near the Dunn Loring Metro and Mosaic District of Merrifield, Virginia. The new office is just outside the beltway at: 2789 Hartland Road, Falls Church, VA 22043.

 

Five Talents' mailing address remains unchanged: PO Box 331, Vienna, VA 22813.  For more contact information, click here.

The move to a new office enables Five Talents to continue to accomodate staff, coordinate operations, and increase support of overseas programs. An open house will be announced at a later date.

Five Talents USA was founded in 1998 to fight poverty, create jobs, and transform lives. Since inception, Five Talents has worked in over 20 countries, helping the vulnerable poor to develop savings groups and community banks, and empowering entrepreneurs to create over 46,000 locally-owned businesses. Currently, Five Talents has full-time offices in the US, UK, and Kenya.