Thursday, August 28, 2014

Behind the scenes at UMF: numbers and news

At Unión MicroFinanza in La Unión, some of the employees spend much of their time outside of the office, traveling to coffee farms and villages. And others are more often in the office, providing just as necessary support on the administration and communication sides. Two of these employees, for whom access to Internet and a quality office environment are essential, are Charlie Heins and Heather Farrell.

Litos manages accounting and finances for UMF.
Finance Manager Charlie Heins (who in La Unión is simply known as Litos) manages all accounting, including the bank accounts, taxes, and all spending and receipts for the organization's La Unión office. This involves everything from paying employees, to approving supplies for the office (without Litos, the motorcycle would not get filled with gas to go to the villages!) He also manages the receipt of payments made at microloan meetings, and trains the Honduran employees on using the computer to record payments and interest for microloans.

During harvest season, Litos is in charge of the beneficio, on top of his usual daily responsibilities. Here, he makes sure that everything is ready for each day, coordinates employee schedules, and assures that the beneficio is a good working environment.

Litos also helps make it possible for our community partners to visit La Unión and to support development projects in the villages: he receives and manages payments and costs for these trips. Basically, he makes sure that everyone gets paid who needs to be paid! Considering the nearest bank is three hours away, this takes a lot of organization and planning, and it's critical to the continuation of our community partnership projects.

Besides his work with Unión MicroFinanza, Litos is known in La Unión as someone who can provide technical support for computers and cellphones, in a place where there isn’t a “Geek Squad” to call. He also enjoys playing guitar and chess with the bilingual school students.

Heather organizes partnership trips and works with
bilingual school students, who translate for groups.
Heather Farrell is the media director for Unión MicroFinanza, and is in charge of communication for the organization. This involves everything from social media, to newsletters, to Skype calls and emails with community partners. If you receive the monthly newsletter, or see photos on Facebook, chances are Heather was behind it.

Another big part of Heather’s job in La Unión is communication with partners, both in Honduras and in the United States. Heather works with Pedro as a link between communities in La Unión and the U.S. She and Pedro plan and manage group visits to La Unión, as well as make sure that community projects continually move forward. We put great importance on connecting communities, and communication is vital for maintaining and building relationships. Heather works to make sure that our partners receive these updates and news.

In addition to working with U.S. partners, Heather stays busy in the community of La Unión and builds on local partnerships as well. She is involved in the Vida Abundante church in town, and works closely with the Vida Abundante bilingual school. She enjoys giving music and English lessons to members of the community, and hopes that what they learn will provide them with opportunities in the future.

Your generous donations to the organization support community development projects, trainings and microloan programs, and they also support the people who make these happen. Find out more on our website about becoming a donor. Thank you for your partnership with Unión MicroFinanza and the people of Honduras!