Critics of microfinance express concern that financial service providers are more interested in maximizing profits than meeting the needs of their poor clients and a new global effort, known as the Smart Campaign, aims to right this wrong. By identifying a set of common standards to guide all microfinance operations, the Smart Campaign provides a useful framework around which those who value putting clients first can rally. The Hunger Project recently signed on as an endorser of the Smart Campaign to demonstrate that it agrees with the idea that all microfinance clients deserve transparent, respectful and prudent services.
Gudatu Saving and Credit Cooperative (SACCO), or rural bank, of The Hunger Project's Jaldu Epicenter in Ethiopia has been awarded two cups and certificates for its outstanding work in mobilizing the highest number of women members and the highest saving amounts among other SACCOs at the regional and federal levels.
The goal of the Microfinance Program in each epicenter is to have the facility gain government recognition as a licensed Rural Bank, owned entirely by community members and managed by a majority female board. The Rural Bank then provides the entire epicenter community with sustainable access to savings and credit facilities. THP-Malawi is therefore happy to announce the recognition of two new Rural Banks in Champiti and Ligowe Epicenters.
Genet Mosa utilized the Microfinance Program in her local epicenter to develop as a community leader, thrive as a business woman, nurture a savings account and improve the lives of her family and neighbors.
Before joining the Microfinance Program, I had never imagined making an income or even dared to speak in public. Now I am President of our group and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kissamey Epicenter fund.
Ms. Khady Seck is chair of a microfinance women's group in Diokoul Epicenter in Senegal. Empowered by the epicenter trainings, Khady has also taken on the position of counselor to the village women and coordinated the shared maintenance of the local environment, reducing rates of diseases like malaria.
My name is Mrs. Lénindou Agbognihoue. It is because of the lessons I learned from Vision, Commitment and Action workshops at [my] epicenter that I had the courage and strength to take care of myself and the future of my children.