At the early stage of organizing women household heads, economic empowerment has been an effective entry point for community organizing. Economic empowerment involves two key activities: business development and financial service development.
PEKKA did not start its activities by handing out aid or loans, but by encouraging group members to start saving however much they can. It need not be cash deposits, but can also be in-kind savings such as in the form of their crops. This is a process towards changing behaviors and mind-sets; shifting away from expectations of receiving aid from others to self-reliance. In addition, savings also teach members to wisely manage their money and resources and factor in the future. Savings that are collectively managed will instill a sense of discipline, honesty and responsibility in members regarding their obligations.
Being a group member does not automatically mean eligibility to borrow. Members must comply with the agreed terms and conditions, and the amount of credit shall be disbursed in stages according to actual need and ability to repay on time. The agreed-upon service charges are imposed for expanding the revolving funds generated from this activity. At year-end, the accumulated service charges are totaled and members jointly decide on how the money should best be allocated. Some may be shared among members as operating profits, and a portion for capital expansion.
Micro insurance refers to funds collected by Pekka groups to protect their members and families from various risks. It is managed by the Pekka Cooperative mainly to contribute for the medical expenses of members who participate in the micro insurance scheme, and for condolence money to Pekka group members who may have lost a loved one.
Entrepreneurship is developed according to the local context in terms of resource potential and opportunities. PEKKA partners with others, including the private sector, to develop production capacity, services, and their management. The type of enterprises being developed includes organic farming, food processing, village hair or beauty salons, community-based tourism, shops or stalls, weaving and handicraft.