Each day we all work towards our vision of 3 Billion Maries. The MFIs using our software are the ones on the frontlines working hand in hand with Marie each day. As members of our global community, we want to keep you closely connected to the work they’re doing. We’ll regularly try to bring attention to what each of these MFIs is doing and how we can better help them.
Fitting into the theme of responsible microfinance we touched on earlier this week, I’m proud that we are able to support microfinance institutions who are pioneering new approaches to empowering the poor to rise out of poverty. These MFIs using Mifos are going beyond merely providing financial services and focusing on behavior change as the foundation to a long-lasting solution for self-empowerment.
Savings as a Foundation at Nuru International
On the Nuru International Community Economic Development (CED) blog, Rebecca Herrington shared an update on the MwaK program and the success their hard work is yielding to enact deep-rooted change. Nuru International is practicing a new model of microfinance where they fundamentally view CED as a training program that offers credit services and not merely credit to the extreme poor. Their model is rooted in savings rather than credit and emphasizes training above services. To make this approach stick, they’ve had to be strict and and not bend any rules – clients could only take out loans if they met their 25% savings goals. While this resulted in disbursing only 172 loans out of the 242 applications received, clients understand the long-term value of this approach and staff are confident in the impact they can achieve.
How can the Mifos technology make these programs easier to implement? For one, I know we could have better linkage between the savings and loans accounts. We’ll hopefully have it on our roadmap soon.
Lumana – Fueling Growth in Many Ways
Lumana published their quarterly newsletter for 2012 and has hit some impressive milestones in their growth and evolution over the past year. A couple points to highlight:
- Currently reaching 600 clients including new clients from their acquisition of Village Net
- Expanded into a new region in Ghana, the Ofankor
- Through their Lumana Connect program, they’re broadening their reach by getting into the world of SME funding.
- Hired their 6th Ghanian staff member and sent their 45th Lumana fellow to Ghana – demonstrating the scale and impact of sending young professionals to volunteer in the field while building up a strong local staff.
Lumana will soon be upgrading Mifos and piloting the Mifos Android client. There’s a way you can help them – if you’d like to recycle your old technology as old donation they’re looking for any old smartphones, netbooks, or laptops you have laying around. Reach them at Contact@lumana.org to donate your goods. We’d love to see some more Android phones in their staff’s hands to test our app.
Watch their video to learn more about how Lumana is providing rural Africans with the tools and opportunity to solve their own problems: