Pro Mujer Mexico is one part of the larger Pro Mujer network, an international microfinance and women's development network whose mission is to provide Latin America's poorest women with the means to build livelihoods for themselves and futures for their families through microfinance, business training, and healthcare support.
Pro Mujer fights poverty by establishing sustainable microfinance organizations that provide an integrated package of financial and human development services that women require to build and improve their small businesses.
Pro Mujer provides women with working capital loans ranging from US$50 to $1,500 with a term of four to six months. The average loan is approximately US$225. Women who repay their loans on time qualify for larger loans. Pro Mujer also offers loans for short term credit needs, and loans to pay for education and healthcare.
In addition to these financial products, Pro Mujer Mexico provides training in personal empowerment, reproductive health, domestic violence prevention and business development. Combined, these services help the working poor start or improve small businesses, thus increasing their incomes and living standards.
Pro Mujer Mexico offers both their financial services and the human development services at their neighborhood centers; this provides clients with low cost services and minimizes time away from work and family.
As an integral part of its vision, Pro Mujer Mexico now offers training in basic IT skills, such as Microsoft Office and Internet, to integrate women loan recipients into the modern economy and, at the same time, enable them to use those new tools to improve their businesses. With Microsoft Unlimited Potential support, Pro Mujer Mexico will establish community technology centers in four of its neighborhood centers.
Pro Mujer targets poor women who lack the education and skills they need to qualify for employment or to access credit. They face discrimination and cultural barriers simply because of their gender. Most of the women work in the informal sector as vendors because they do not have any other alternative. Pro Mujer clients engage in small income-generating activities such as food processing, shopkeeping, service provision, street vending, sewing and weaving, among others.
Currently, the institution offers microcredit loans and opportunities to access saving accounts to more than 20,920 women at more than 1,250 communal banks in six Mexican states.
As of 2008, the clients of Pro Mujer Mexico had also been able to save $2,227,000.
All her life, Matilde Cruz has relied on a small business to survive.
As a child, she helped to support her family, selling flowers, tamales, and stuffed chilies in the streets of Veracruz, Mexico. Years later, Matilde and her husband made and sold pottery in the city of Tula.
Lacking capital and business skills, the couple struggled, barely earning enough to meet their basic needs. Then a neighbor told her about Pro Mujerís loans and business training. She applied for and got a loan from Pro Mujer to buy supplies and materials, just the boost she needed to expand her business. Gradually Matilde began selling more pots, jars and figures. Her success earned her a coveted spot at a busy market in Tula where she now sells her pre-Columbian style pottery.