13 January 2010
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is making a contribution of $38 million in new grants to support microfinance institutions (MFIs). These MFIs spread across 12 countries will use these grants to promote thrift activities among the poor. There are some highly innovative approaches adopted by the grant recipients to implement projects from the grants.
In India, Shorebank International will involve its staff in promoting microfinance by sending them on motorbikes with handheld devices to rural areas. It will “work with Krishna Bhima Samrudhi Local Area Bank in India, which is already offering credit and savings to the poor, to broaden its reach by sending messengers on motorbikes with handheld devices to rural clients; work with Khushhali Bank in Pakistan, which mainly serves semi-urban areas, to introduce a portfolio of savings products tailored to the poor; create management and business process systems, and train staff to help the National Rural Support Programme Microfinance Bank in Pakistan offer savings to its clients; help BRAC Bank in Bangladesh explore ways to reach the rural poor with savings.”
ACCION International in Latin America will promote savings products in parts of Latin America. FINCA’s village banking model in Africa will receive a boost with a grant of $5.4 million to offer savings to its group members. Grameen foundation’s three MFIs will be transformed into savings-led institutions in Ethiopia, India and the Philippines.
Women’s World Banking with $8.5 million will organize activities such as assisting Banco ADOPEM in revamping its savings products to make them better fit the needs of the poor; supporting WWB Colombia, a newly regulated institution, in mobilizing and managing savings by launching new products, new delivery channels and a new marketing approach; helping Kenya Women Finance Trust, which is currently credit-only, conduct market research and product development to create services and products tailored to the poor; and working with Kashf Microfinance Bank to place online banking kiosks in Kashf Foundation branches so the foundation’s clients, all women, can gain access to savings accounts for the first time in Dominican Republic, Columbia, Kenya and Pakistan. World Vision will target 600,000 rural farmers in Ethiopia to offer savings accounts through mobile technologies.