Drew McWay ’08, an accounting and business administration major from Dallas, Texas, was recently awarded a grant from 100 Projects for Peace. This organization invites all undergraduates to submit a project proposal that enhances the idea of world peace. McWay will receive a $10,000 grant made possible by Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an accomplished internationalist and philanthropist.
McWay’s project will take him to Northern Peru to partner with Sinergia, a small microfinance group that loans money to females who dream of owning their own business. As the loans are repaid and redistributed, they will provide for countless others for years to come.
“This economic development will nurture emotional peace in the hearts of Peruvian women and promote economic peace in the war on poverty in northern Peru,” said McWay.
Northern Peru suffers from poverty and unemployment that are curable. Although short-term solutions are offered through international efforts, they serve as temporary band-aids to long-term problems. “Fortunately, theory and practice have revealed the more sustainable, long-term solution of micro lending,” said McWay.
Sinergia is an organization that has successfully issued loans to over 100 women in the poverty-stricken Wachanzao barrio in northern Peru. “Sinergia targets women as the beneficiaries of their microloan program because women tend to share a greater portion of their business profits with their family and they are, typically, in a worse socioeconomic condition than their male counterparts,” said McWay.
The first portion of his grant money will be used as loan capital. “Each $50-250 microloan starts approximately one additional business, saves one Peruvian woman from unemployment and raises one Peruvian family from the depths of poverty,” said McWay. The second portion will be dedicated towards training Peruvian entrepreneurs.
“My decision to apply for this grant and serve in this capacity came after prayerful consideration of my strengths and weaknesses alongside my interests and disinterests,” said McWay. “This peace project isn't entirely altruistic. It serves the best interests of both my future and the future of the Peruvian people along the northern coast.”
McWay will remain in Peru, working with microfinance institutions, for nine months following his initial grant project. He has begun private fundraising to cover personal expenses while he continues his work with Peru Mission.
“Drew was a student in my freshman leadership seminar, and since then I have enjoyed watching him mature and develop as a student and more importantly as an outstanding individual,” said Roger Dean, professor of management. “His participation in the 100 Projects for Peace is but another example of his genuine concern for the well-being of others and putting his Christian faith into action. I wish him well.”
“Ultimately, in the upcoming year I just wanted to serve God and others on an international stage in an area of personal interest,” said McWay. “Microfinance captures my full interest and attention, so that's the non-profit road I decided to investigate and invest my time into.”