Warm greetings to you all.
It fills me with immense joy and gratitude to stand before you on this significant occasion – the 19th anniversary of the SEDPI Group and the inauguration of our new headquarters in Rosario, Agusan del Sur. It’s wonderful to see so many familiar faces and new ones alike, as we come together to celebrate nearly two decades of dedication, progress, and shared accomplishments.
In reflecting on the history of the SEDPI Group, one cannot help but marvel at the extraordinary growth we have experienced. Since our inception in 2004, we have strived to make a significant impact in our communities, and the fruit of our labor is evident today. In just six years, since 2017, we have grown from 2 branches to a remarkable 15. A testament to the effectiveness of our mission and the unwavering commitment of our teams on the ground.
This growth is not merely in terms of our physical presence, but also in the size of the SEDPI family. Today, our membership stands close to 18,000 strong – a number that symbolizes not only the trust our members place in us but also our collective potential to effect change. Each of these members is a testament to our purpose, a driving force behind our mission to uplift lives and to champion sustainable and ethical financing, social investments, and financial education among Filipinos worldwide.
At the heart of our operations are our center chiefs, whose dedication and service have been instrumental in bringing our mission to life. Your tireless efforts, undying spirit, and constant dedication have made what SEDPI is today. It’s your commitment to our cause that has made it possible for us to achieve this feat. You are the backbone of our operations, and without you, SEDPI would not be what it is today. We salute your hard work and dedication.
We would not be where we are today without our esteemed institutional partners. From the world of academia, Ateneo de Manila University has been a valuable partner, providing us with a strong theoretical framework and research support to ground our work in science and evidence. In the banking sector, Land Bank and BPI have been instrumental in our financial operations, offering steadfast and dependable services that have allowed us to grow and serve our communities better. From the government sector, Pag-IBIG, SSS, and our newest partner, PhilHealth, have helped us secure access to social safety nets for our members, enhancing our services and creating a holistic approach to poverty alleviation.
Our staff is the lifeblood of SEDPI Group. You are the ones who bring our vision to life every day, facing challenges with creativity and resilience, and bringing compassion, professionalism, and dedication to your work. Each one of you plays a pivotal role in making SEDPI a beacon of hope for many. Your unwavering dedication and commitment are the life force that propels our organization forward.
As we look back on our journey, it’s essential to remind ourselves of the principles that form the cornerstone of SEDPI. Our six foundational principles – financial education, capital infusion instead of loans, profit and risk sharing, loss follows capital, non-profit insurance product, and partnership and cooperation – have been the guiding compass of our journey.
Financial education has been at the forefront of our initiatives. We believe that an informed individual is an empowered individual. By prioritizing intensive savings mobilization, universal insurance coverage, provision of investment opportunities, and liberation from oppressive loan products, we’ve been able to arm our members with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions and build a secure future.
Instead of offering traditional loans, we’ve introduced a novel approach to funding – capital infusion through joint ventures. This approach has enabled us to foster a mutually beneficial relationship with nanoenterprises. By adopting a cost-plus basis for our capital contribution, we’ve presented an alternative to the conventional loan systems that often burden the borrower with interest and penalty charges.
Our model of profit and risk sharing ensures an equitable distribution of profits and risks. Unlike traditional loan systems where the debtor bears all the risks, our shared approach fosters a culture of collective problem-solving and mutual support. This has led to a more resilient and empowered nanoenterprise ecosystem.
The principle of ‘loss follows capital’ ensures that losses are proportionate to each party’s capital contribution. This approach is more equitable and just, significantly differing from traditional loan systems where the debtor often bears the brunt of the losses.
Our non-profit insurance product is designed with the primary goal of solidarity and protection. By treating service delivery costs as expenses and accumulating surplus premium payments to strengthen the fund, we’ve ensured that the insurance serves its true purpose of providing protection and not income generation.
Our commitment to partnership and cooperation has led us to establish collaborations with government agencies, bringing basic services closer to low-income groups. We’ve joined hands with civil society and like-minded organizations in our fight against poverty, reinforcing our belief that collective efforts can bring about significant change.
The essence of our principles aligns seamlessly with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), transforming our local efforts into a contribution to a global cause. Our initiatives address a wide range of SDGs – from eradicating poverty to ensuring decent work and economic growth, reducing inequalities, promoting sustainable cities and communities, and ensuring good health and well-being.
Through our initiatives, we’ve made significant strides towards achieving these global goals. By providing capital and financial education, we’ve uplifted numerous entrepreneurs from the shackles of poverty. By facilitating job creation and sustainable microenterprises, we’ve fostered economic growth and reduced inequalities. Our housing initiative, KaBalay, has contributed to creating sustainable cities and communities, while KaLusog, our health initiative, has promoted good health and well-being.
Our approach to finance, marked by capital infusion and profit-sharing rather than traditional loans, promotes responsible consumption and production. By fostering partnerships and cooperation with government agencies, we’re reinforcing strong institutions. Most significantly, by targeting primarily women, SEDPI is making significant strides towards achieving gender equality in financial inclusion and economic empowerment.
As we stand at this juncture, celebrating our past and looking forward to our future, we’re filled with a sense of optimism and determination. We’re ready to tackle new challenges, seize opportunities, and continue our mission to uplift lives. We’re eager to expand our outreach, strengthen our services, and make a more significant impact.
Thank you all for your unwavering support and commitment to our cause. The journey we’ve traversed and the journey that lies ahead are both testaments to our shared vision, collective efforts, and our belief in making a difference. As we embark on the next chapter of our journey, let’s continue to aspire, inspire, and make an impact.
Maraming Salamat, Mabuhay!
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