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Connecting Women to Change the World

Episode 023

HOPE International – Rebecca Harver

Episode Summary

Hey Change Maker!  My guest this week is Rebecca Harver of HOPE International.  HOPE International offers Christ-centered financial services in 15 countries around the world, combining entrepreneurship and the Gospel to fight poverty. 

*Host Note:  This is a long episode, but SO worth the listen!


We begin the podcast by talking about Rebecca’s background and her journey to HOPE International. Rebecca has always been passionate about bringing justice into the world and ensuring the word of the Gospel. While studying abroad in Ecuador during college, she learned about microfinance while working with women who farmed guinea pigs. After college, she worked for a microfinance development company in San Diego before moving to the Dominican Republic to work for HOPE International, where she has been for the past four years.

Next, we shift to discuss microfinance and HOPE International’s work. The typical range for a microfinance loan, both in the U.S. and abroad, is approximately $750 – $75,000. Rebecca describes how there is quite a large sector of people who are either excluded completely from traditional financing opportunities, or cannot use traditional financing because of certain factors in their past. Microfinancing aims to help those excluded individuals. HOPE International’s mission is to invest in the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities as they proclaim and live the Gospel. HOPE operates in 15 different countries around the world, with an average international loan repayment rate of 95%. The goal of the organization is to empower mainly women (but they also serve men) by offering income-generating opportunities. HOPE offers Christ-centered financial services, which includes both small business loans and savings groups. The organization also has a sister company called Homes for Hope, in which builders donate homes to help fund HOPE programs.

After that, we talk about why it’s so important to invest in the financial wellbeing of people living in poverty. Rebecca explains that there are numerous passages in the Bible that call on us to care for our neighbors and for the poor. She goes on to describe the four domains of poverty: material, spiritual, personal, and social. These domains are intertwined, as they all affect each other. Rebecca brings up the issue of undocumented Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, and how HOPE aids these people who would not have otherwise had access to traditional loans.

We also discuss how HOPE approaches lending to underserved communities. Rebecca explains that firstly, HOPE is open to exploring new frontiers. The organization goes to places where people are not typically reached by traditional financing. Secondly, HOPE provides services that reflect biblical beliefs. The organization is not extortionary in their interests and fees. HOPE takes a personalized, education-centric approach to each client, ensuring that the loan provided is truly going to help the client, rather than hurt them. One of the biggest challenges their clients face is over-indebtedness, wherein a borrower has taken out so many loans from someone else that they’re unable to repay their debt. Thirdly, HOPE’s approach is characterized by very high-touch lending. Rebecca describes that the organization “walks alongside borrowers”. Loan officers are out in the field visiting and meeting with clients on a daily basis. Finally, Rebecca points out that the majority of lending at HOPE is focused on group lending. Group lending takes place when a group of individuals all take out loans at the same time, and they’re all responsible for paying each other’s loans.

Next, we discuss the impact of microfinancing, savings groups, and HOPE’s poverty simulation. Rebecca describes that the standard loan size in the Dominican Republic is $50 – $200. While this may not seem like much, the impact of the investment of that loan extends far beyond the individual who is borrowing. Rebecca explains that the Dominican Republic has one of the highest rates of domestic violence. To a woman starting her business, this loan could provide financial stability and change her life, potentially enabling her to escape an abusive marriage. Microfinancing is often the catalyst for generational change. We then move on to discuss savings groups. With savings groups, community members come together and give a certain amount every week, and as that amount accumulates, the money is lent to different members of the group. While HOPE does not provide any external funding, they do provide a facilitator to oversee and educate the group. After that, we briefly discuss the poverty simulations HOPE runs. These simulations have been created for people living in the U.S. to understand what daily life looks like for an individual living in material poverty.

In the final portion of the episode, Rebecca and I discuss her inspirations, and how our listeners can partner with HOPE to change the world. Rebecca is inspired by her clients, as well as the microfinance manager at Esperanza International. She invites our listeners to come alongside HOPE through prayer, giving, and connecting with local representatives. Rebecca also explains that the organization has several internship, fellowship, and employment opportunities available. HOPE’s website,, is where listeners can go to see how they can partner with the organization and help be a catalyst for change.

About Rebecca

Rebecca first learned about microfinance in college while working with Guinea Pig Farmers in Ecuador and instantly fell in love! Since then, she has worked in domestic microfinance with Accesity (previously Accion San Diego) and now in International microfinance with HOPE International since 2017. She is originally from San Diego, CA and has been residing in the Dominican Republic for the last 4 years, where she met her now husband Diego. They were married in March 2021. She is passionate about poverty alleviation and empowering those whose voices are rarely heard. She sees Christ Centered financial services as a key element in a holistic approach to poverty alleviation and loves watching how as little as $50 can change a whole family’s life and trajectory.

About HOPE International

HOPE International offers Christ-centered financial services in 15 countries around the world, combining entrepreneurship and the Gospel to fight poverty. HOPE’s methodology is focused on women and centered around these four principles: Christ-centered training, discipleship, opportunities to safely save, and business loans. HOPE also partners with local like-minded organizations in some of the countries served to support and expand existing efforts in poverty alleviation through financial services.

Key Timestamps

Discussion about microfinance and the size of loans given out in the United States.
8:39 – 14:36

Discussion about what HOPE International does.
14:37 – 21:17

Why is it so important to invest in the financial wellbeing of people living in poverty?
21:18 – 32:27

How does HOPE International approach lending to underserved communities?
32:38 – 39:02

How do these loans of seemingly tiny amounts make such a huge impact?
39:03 – 44:47

What are savings groups, and why are they so impactful? Discussion about poverty simulation.
44:48 – 52:31

How can our listeners partner with you to change the world? Where can the listeners find you online?
54:51- 57:40

Thanks for listening to The Constellation Coalition Podcast!


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