Mary – who lives in Bidibidi, one of the world’s largest refugee settlements – took part in this training. Three years on, Mary runs a profitable tailoring business that employs other women, giving them the means to support their families.
European Excellence Award winner 2023: Best video series
The European Investment Bank's mission is to improve lives around the world. Our Chance for Change video series invites you to discover how.
Our protagonists, coming from the four corners of the globe, share how their lives changed for the better.
Watch their stories!
Transforming lives in Uganda
Our voyage takes us to Uganda, a country that provides refuge to more than 1.3 million South Sudanese who fled conflict in their homeland.
Centenary Bank, supported by the EIB, provided training on financial literacy for refugees in nine settlements across the country.
David also had the same training. Nowadays, he runs a successful business growing vegetables which he sells to other Bidibidi residents.
Improving the daily life of local communities in Bolivia
Remote villages in the Bolivian Andes have no access to electric grids or running water. Until recently, they had to live without electricity and rely on natural sources of often-contaminated water.
Through our partnership with FONPLATA, the Bolivian government’s Harvesting Water, Sowing Light project has already installed 1 283 rainwater-harvesting tanks, and over 3 500 solar panels for households, schools and health posts, improving the daily life of local communities.
In supplying a clean source of energy, the project provides villagers with reliable access to electricity and helps to fight climate change.
Take for example Felicia and Pedro. They run a smallholding, which is a two-hour walk away from the nearest town. Until 2018, it was hard work for the couple to access water supplies. Then they installed rainwater-harvesting tanks at their home.
In 2022, they also installed a solar panel. They now have access to both clean energy and clean water.
Angélica is a nurse who lives in the neighbouring village of Collpa. She runs a health post providing primary care to local villagers. Until recently, she had to manage without electricity, using candles and travelling to the nearest town to charge her phone and computer.
That changed in 2022 when a solar panel was installed next to the health post, providing electricity and more reliable connectivity. She can now better serve her community.
In the meantime, children in the remote village of Ukhira also suffered from water scarcity and no access to electricity. Marta, their teacher, struggled to provide them with better conditions. Fortunately, things are changing for the better.
Since 2018, rainwater harvesting systems and solar panels were installed in Ukhira. Marta and the children can now get fresh water from the tap and use clean electricity at school or at home.
New horizons for women waste pickers in Argentina
In Argentina, the province of Jujuy is creating new economic opportunities for women, supported by the EIB and the Latin America Investment Facility. The project also aims to manage waste sustainably and cut greenhouse gases.
Estela has been picking through rubbish at night since she was 18 to support her family. She now works under decent conditions in recycling at the sorting centre that was built.
Rosa also got the chance to turn her life around. After 30 years recycling rubbish at one of the dumps in Jujuy, she seized the opportunity to take part in a workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs. Rosa is now a confident businesswoman, creating clothes from recycled textiles.
Like Rosa’s story, Claudia took a new direction in her life. After years exposing herself to health hazards at the dump, she attended the same workshop. Claudia now has her own business baking and selling cakes. This is her story of how she turned the page after 20 years to provide a stable income and roof for her family.
Micro-loans with strong social and environmental impact in the Dominican Republic
Microfinance is an effective tool to reduce poverty and encourage entrepreneurship. We have created a technical assistance programme, tailored to promote financial inclusion of people in the Caribbean, particularly women and the young populations.
Specifically in the Dominican Republic, we have also signed a green credit line with Banfondesa to support micro-entrepreneurs, typically having little access to conventional financing.
Héctor, a dedicated farmer in Dajabon, raises cattle for milk and meat production. For years, he struggled with recurring droughts that would stretch on for most of the year. To combat this pressing issue, he had relied on gasoline-fueled water pumps that draw water from a nearby lake into a reservoir to irrigate his farm, making it expensive and polluting to operate
In 2021, Héctor discovered a more sustainable solution. He installed a solar-powered water pump, thanks to financing secured through the Banfondesa Renovable green credit line. Now, as soon as the sun rises, the pump is powered and supplies his farm with water. This transformative solution eases Hector's daily life, while significantly increasing his agricultural yields.
Julie Belliard is a passionate architect and small business owner in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. She crafts personalised gift boxes filled with handmade products that she sells online.
Amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, Julie recognised the immense value of her e-commerce expertise, especially for local artisans facing difficulties in selling their handicrafts. Driven by her commitment to empower artisans and creators, Julie launched Yo Soy Local, a digital marketplace that helps them sell their products effortlessly online.
Julie's inspiring vision received a crucial boost when she participated in MicroPitch, a dynamic pitching forum where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business plans to potential sponsors, including local microfinance institutions. Her exceptional idea earned her the prestigious award of 'Best Entrepreneur,' a pivotal moment that laid the foundation for her remarkable venture.
MicroPitch is the fruit of the Caribbean Technical Assistance program, financed by the EIB and executed by the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. This initiative attracted applications from 600 entrepreneurs across 15 Caribbean countries, ultimately selecting 72 visionaries to present their ideas to a network of 25 prospective sponsors.
On the move in Laos
Roads are vital for creating growth for societies. The European Union and the EIB supported the Lao government in rehabilitating 1 400 kilometres of unpaved roads in six of the country's provinces. The upgraded road network now guarantees safe transport for 1.6 million people.
Thanks to this project, people can now move safely and comfortably from one place to another.
In 2019, Mai – who was nine-months pregnant at the time – did not feel comfortable taking the dangerous road that connected her small village to the nearby hospital.
This changed a year later when the road was finally paved. Today, Mai can securely take her daughter to school, and the villagers have easier access to other services.
Farmers can also deliver their goods to vendors safely and quickly, thanks to this programme.
Mee is one of them. She lives in a small remote village and makes her living by selling chickens, ducks, and vegetables in the Paksan district in Laos. Due to the bumpy, treacherous road that leads to Paksan, it took Mee five hours to access the market, suffering losses along the way because her chickens died or vegetables rotted.
In June 2020, the road passing through Mee's village was improved and paved. Since then, it takes Mee only an hour to reach Paksan. Her animals survive and her vegetables stay fresh.
Building better kindergartens in Yerevan
Yerevan – Armenia’s capital – has school premises that date back to the Soviet Union, with dilapidated walls and classrooms. The municipality is now renovating 15 kindergartens to make them safer and energy efficient. Supported by the EIB, E5P and the Green Climate Fund via UNDP Armenia, the premises are also becoming more accessible for children and staff with disabilities, improving social inclusion.
Julieta’s daughter Lily is one of the lucky attendees of Kindergarten 36 in Yerevan, which has been newly renovated. More functional, energy efficient and secure against earthquakes, Kindergarten 36 was the first of 15 kindergartens that the municipality plans to modernise in the coming years. This is their story.
For more than 50 years, the EIB has been the European Union’s international development bank. Our key investments across the world help create stability, promote sustainable growth and fight climate change everywhere.