History

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Five Talents is a faith-based international development organization that helps the poor save, invest, and develop small businesses.

Five Talents began in 1998 as a means for churches to respond wisely to the realities of global poverty through transformational development. The founders believed deeply in guarding the dignity of the poor and assisting them to create jobs and opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty. Five Talents was established based on the biblical Parable of the Talents and the call of Jesus to minister good news to the poor.

Our first programs began as a novel initiative in 2000 in the Philippines, targeting low-income families in Baguio City and Igorot Village, a slum in the eastern part of the capital of Manila. Our focus was on the formation of savings and loans groups and training for microenterprise development. Through patient investment and working to build the capacity of local partners, Five Talents' impact has multiplied across the country. Today our key partner, Center for Community Transformation, offers transformative services in 23 provinces, 49 cities, and 42 towns across the Philippines. These include: business skills and entrepreneurial training, small group savings, financial services, and spiritual mentorship reaching hundreds of thousands of participants.

As programs have graduated and become self-sustaining and replicating, Five Talents has expanded to pioneer work in other countries in Africa, Asia and South America. In 2006, Five Talents UK was established, helping to catalyze growth of developing programs in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Kenya program itself became a model for financial inclusion across Africa, helping poor families save over $2.5 million and build businesses with over 99% repayment on loans. In 2016, Five Talents Kenya was officially established.

Today, Five Talents continues to serve communities in some of the most risky, remote, and rural areas in the world – places not served by banks or commercial microcredit agencies. Our work has inspired churches of all denominations, as well individuals and organizations of all religious and non-religious backgrounds, to join with us in fighting poverty and empowering the poor. Our US office is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.

Rather than try to combat poverty from the top-down, microenterprise fights poverty from the ground up by working directly to change the lives of those most affected by poverty.”
— Bishop Simon Chiwanga, founder from Tanzania

Since its inception, Five Talents USA has worked to build the capacity of indigenous organizations in nineteen countries, providing business skills training, spiritual formation, and creation of savings associations to over 77,000 individuals.  Currently, Five Talents USA is engaged on three continents funding and implementing programs in the deltas of Myanmar, the slums of Jakarta, the mountains of Bolivia, and war-torn South Sudan and Burundi.

Through our programs, members and their families have had access to savings and loan associations and community banks that have provided over half a million loans to develop their micro-enterprises.  Five Talents, through the businesses supported by these loans, has had the opportunity to provide jobs and opportunities that have impacted over 380,000 beneficiaries. Learn more about Five Talents impact.