Stuart Rutherford is an expert in financial services for the poor, and the author of ‘The Poor and Their Money’. He founded SafeSave in 1996, to provide basic banking services in the slums of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. Nearly two decades on SafeSave serves 19,000 clients, helping them afford everyday expenses and budget for bigger life events.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in Mbeya, the southernmost region of Tanzania. It's not an easy task to get here, for Mbeya lies some 800 kilometers from the capital, Dar-es-Salam, near the borders of Zambia and Malawi.
“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” is an old saying. Let me extend this old saying this evening by adding – “Give a man a mobile phone and you have changed his life.”
It was 7:30 in the morning the members of Kiwafu (A) microfinance group were gathering for their first group meeting. The group was officially formed two days ago, on the 16th of July 2011. 21 women who lived in the surrounding areas were sitting neatly in a courtyard. For the next four weeks, they will be going through an orientation programme. After the orientation, they will become the newest borrowers under BRAC’s microfinance programme.This group was formed under the newly established BRAC branch in Entebbe. This newly established branch is one of 20 new branches, being set-up as a part of BRAC’s ground-breaking partnership with the MasterCard Foundation in Uganda.
The following article was originally posted by Alex Pattee on the MicroCapiltal.org blog. By Syed M Hashemi and Aude de Montesquiou; published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), March 2011, 16 pages; available at: http://www.microfinancegateway.org/gm/document-1.9.50806/Reaching_the_Poorest.pdf
BRAC and The MasterCard Foundation today announced the expansion of a $45 million partnership to scale BRAC's innovative microfinance multiplied model in Uganda. The announcement, which was made at the opening plenary of the 2011 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, will enable BRAC to expand its network to 129 branches, benefiting more than four million Ugandans."The MasterCard Foundation aims to scale innovative microfinance programs in Africa to improve the lives of people living in poverty," said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. "BRAC's holistic approach integrates microfinance and livelihood services to help women to become productive economically and build assets to benefit their families."
This Sunday, January 9th 2011, is a historic day for South Sudan, when over 4 million registered voters will cast their ballot to decide whether or not the south secedes from the north to create a new independent nation. This referendum for independence is the culmination of a peace process ending decades of conflict between the north and the south. The conflict that spanned four decades with a brief respite ultimately killed more than an estimated 2 million people and continued until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in January 2005—exactly six years ago. While, political analysts believe that the referendum will yield a new state, peace will be fragile. There is much to accomplish in Southern Sudan where over 51%of the population live below the poverty line, and the literacy rate stand at a paltry 24%. Moreover, there are continued border disputes with the north over the oil rich regions of Abyei.
BRAC Pakistan received the Humanitarian Excellence Award from RAKz Communications (Pvt) Ltd.We are also humbled by a public display of appreciation (photo below) by the people of Mohibanda, a village in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province that was fully damaged by the floods. The message on the wall speaks of the villager's appreciation to BRAC and the Bangladeshi people and their hopes of farms and nurseries in Mohibanda flourishing because of new water pumps installed by BRAC as part of our flood rebuilding efforts there.
Last week, BRAC USA received a letter and a donation from James, age 4, for children in Haiti. James dictated this letter to his mother, and in the letter he explains to the children of Haiti, "There is some money coming. I am sending this because I know you don't have money to buy food and things to drink."
Below is a post written by The MasterCard Foundation President & CEO Reeta Roy about the importance of youth entrepreneurship in Africa. The MasterCard Foundation has partnered with BRAC in Uganda to invest in adolescent girls, providing them access to safe spaces, social and livelihood skill-building resources, and microfinance so that they can be agents of change in Africa.
Below is a post from Reeta Roy, President & CEO of the MasterCard Foundation. She is currently visiting BRAC's programs in Uganda along with other members of the MasterCard team. She wrote this after visiting one of BRAC's microfinance groups.