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MicroOptions Development Programs
25 July-2014

Some areas in which MicroOptions is working for poverty alleviation include social mobilization, livelihood development, microfinance and social sector services development. 

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IBP Diploma in Microfinance
14 April-2014

IBP has introduced a Diploma in Microfinance in collaboration with the Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN). The microfinance industry has gained significant momentum and has articulated a need for trained human resource. Given the challenging nature of the industry, the need for a comprehensive yet a cost effective program has become evident.

The IBP Diploma in Microfinance is a flexible, self-study program designed to equip management-level staff working in the sector with fundamental knowledge relating to product, process, policy, regulation and industry dynamics. The diploma has an exam as well as a report component. For more details please download the program guide from http://ibp.org.pk/pdfs/files/IMFD_program%20guide.pdf

 

The salient features of the program are as follows: 

  • To obtain the diploma, candidates are required to pass the Microfinance assessment paper and submit a report/project
  • The assessment is conducted twice a year – April and October
  • The second exam for Diploma will be held in Oct, 2014. Registration date will be announced later.
  • The fee (registration and first exam) is PKR 12,000. The retake fee (each attempt) is PKR 3,000
  • A candidate has 1.5 years (total 3 attempts) to complete the diploma

For registration and other information about the Microfinance diploma, please click on the link: http://www.ibp.org.pk/imfd.aspx .

As this diploma is a joint effort by the IBP and Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN). To encourage the professionals, the PMN has also introduced the following awards for successful candidates of the IBP Diploma in Microfinance Program

  • Successful candidates who achieve the highest marks                            PKR 25,000/-
  • Successful candidates who achieve the second highest marks                 PKR 15,000/-
  • Successful candidates who clear in first attempt                                     PKR  5,000/-

 

PMN and IBP appreciate your efforts in the capacity building of the professionals of your institution and look forward to receiving nominations for the program. 

Corporate Governance
14 April-2014

Currently one of the challenges faced by the microfinance sector is strengthening of governance structures. It has been identified as one of the biggest risks faced by the sector stakeholders such as donors, regulators and policymakers and analysts whereas corporate governance was not viewed as a big threat by practitioners collectively. This goes to show there is a significant gap between perceptions about good governance standards amongst practitioners and other stakeholders.

In addition, as the sector has grown and diversified a number of different types of players have entered the market. The industry’s eco system has become complex and now encompasses players beyond traditional services providers, such as telecom companies, insurance companies and commercial banks. The landscape in terms of funding for the sector is also changing and the ability of institutions to access commercial funds is increasingly gaining importance. Weak governance remains a constraint in this context, especially for the non-regulated microfinance institutions.

Microfinance, unlike mainstream financial services, also carries a high reputation risk as shown by crises in India and around the world due to the profile of its target market. Having strong governance structures which enforce transparency and mission alignment is important to mitigate such risks.

Keeping this in view, State Bank of Pakistan awarded PMN with a project titled “GOVERNANCE NEEDS OF THE MICROFINANCE INDUSTRY: A Customized Training Program” under the Institutional Strengthening Fund of the Financial Inclusion Program (FIP). This project was managed by the Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) and implemented by a Consultant, in this case Hikmah Consulting with an aim to achieve the targets and deliverables set out in the SBP has developed the course with the support from PMN, which has been endorsed by PPAF.

This governance program aims to:

  • Address the governance needs of the microfinance sector and also help MFPs build their capacity for growth and to overcome the challenges ahead.
  • Enhance the governance awareness and skill levels of Directors and senior management of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs).
  • Increase ability of MFIs and MFBs to attract Directors with the relevant skills.
  • Promote higher levels of governance within MFPs so as to make the goal of promoting financial inclusion more achievable.

The first offering of the MFCG training was held in Karachi on Jan 28th and Jan 29th, 2014 and was inaugurated by Mr. Saeed Ahmad, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan who was accompanied by Dr. Saeed Ahmad, Director and Head of the Microfinance Department and the second offering was held in Lahore on March 24th and 25th, 2014. This 2-day course is designed to provide insight into the concept of corporate governance, the regulatory framework in Pakistan, the corporate structure for organizations, controls, audit, compliance and risk governance. This course also highlights issues of consumer protection. The faculty arranged by Hikmah reflected experience with and exposure to the microfinance industry as well as the financial sector overall. It included Mr. Zubyr Soomro, Dr. Ishrat Husain, Mr. Salim Raza, Mr. Saulat Agha, Mr. Aziz Rajkotwalla and Ms. Amena Arif from the IFC.

 

 

Naymet Women Micro Shops
4 March-2014

Naymet Women Micro Shops is the innovative product for income generation of active poor and marginalized women. The objective of this program is to deliver reliable source of income and improve livelihood standards of the poor families. It aims to empower the families throughout the country by establishing micro grocery stores at their homes. Under this program, Naymet provides general stores items to the selected women entrepreneurs without additional financial cost

Kashf Foundation A New First School Financing Facility
1 January-2014

Kashf Foundation developed a new product that provides a business solution to improving the level of education low-income households are accessing. Over the past two decades there has been phenomenal growth in the private education sector in Pakistan – this growth is not just limited to expensive schools catering to the rich but also includes low-cost schools catering to the poor. A large number of low-income households prefer to send their children to these private schools as the quality of education is much better than their government counterparts.

Kashf’s School Finance Facility aims to help low-cost private schools improve the quality of the education through capital support, teacher training and curriculum development support. Kashf works closely with the school management to assess the needs of the school and also audits the quality of teaching and curriculum. After a detailed assessment, the school owners and Kashf staff undertake a consultative process to determine the most important capital needs for the school, which may include infrastructure, investments in working capital and other improvements. Kashf also provides capacity building support which includes training/development of the owner/entrepreneur, teacher trainings for the school staff, and curriculum development/improvement support. Currently, Kashf is piloting this programme and plans to roll it out in the next 12-18 months.

One of the beneficiaries of this programme is Ms. Nargis Ahmad who runs a small school in the locality of Walton in Lahore. Nargis suffers from polio but despite that she is committed to running a low-cost private school to help children in her community gain access to high quality education. She says, “I wish to make my school one of best schools in the city.” In 2002, she started a small coaching centre and after a year she decided to open her school which currently has an enrolment of 120 students. The school is co-educational up to grade 5 and exclusively for girls from grade 6 to grade 10. In terms of challenges, Nargis faced problems of space and furniture. When Nargis met the Kashf team and came to know about loan provision for school development.  She requested Kashf Foundation for Rs. 100,000 for furniture and classroom items. Along with this all teachers from her school, all of whom are female, will also be attending the teacher training sessions being undertaken. She is very pleased with the services she can now access and says, "I will give my best efforts for this school and its children as well. I will do my best to make a bright future of our children."

ASA Pakistan Develops Independent Internet Presence
1 January-2014

ASA Pakistan is one of Pakistan’s leading MFIs with operations in 44 districts of Sindh and Punjab with a portfolio of around PKR 2 billion and total active borrowers of 166,000 by June 30th, 2013. ASA has launched a website for its Pakistan operations at www.asapakistan.com. The site gives a holistic view of ASA Pakistan operations, methodology and information about its governance and management structures.

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