Saturday, 16 January 2016 18:00

Microfinance

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Over the last nine years, BRAC in Tanzania through its microfinance programme has grown to become one of the largest providers of financial services to the poor, providing tools that enable financial inclusion of millions of people, across 18 regions in Tanzania. Through its innovative, client-focused and sustainable approach, BRAC continues to show that microfinance can have a powerful impact on the lives of the poor. The BRAC microfinance programme is a critical component of our holistic approach to support livelihoods.

The microfinance programme is designed to reach out to a large number of clients with cost- effective financial services. A distinctive aspect of BRAC’s microfinance programme is the credit-plus approach, which addresses the special needs of various target populations, such as rural women, adolescents, and small entrepreneurs. Microfinance is at the heart of BRAC's integrated approach to alleviating poverty. BRAC's microfinance programme in Tanzania provides micro loans to women who are not served by other microfinance institutions, giving them the opportunity to operate businesses which sell products or services to their local communities. BRAC delivers micro loans along with other services through village organisations (VOs), an organised group of women who come together to improve their socio-economic position.

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Currently the microfinance programme has been operating successfully in 18 regions with 120 branch offices across Tanzania. The credit-plus approach addresses the special needs of rural women, farmers, youth, adolescents, and small entrepreneurs. BRAC provides social education and financial literacy through weekly group meetings. Participants are advised on the best ways to manage their businesses in order to pay back loans efficiently.

BRAC has established strong internal control and corporate governance by following the international standards of its internal audit manual. BRAC’s monitoring department ensures that the programme runs as planned and identifies if there are any kind of discrepancies. Senior staff members also visit groups from time to time to assess situations on the ground. Proper financial reporting is ensured with advanced information technology, and through monitors, auditors and an accounts team. It provides door-to-door services and collateral free loans with group guarantee as well as death benefits for themembers.

The agri-finance products aim at addressing the critical barrier of smallholder farmers in investment and upgrading their agricultural activities and poultry. The loan product addresses and responds to farmers’ investment needs and income flows.

Aside from distributing loans and providing training, BRAC has developed an integrated set of services that strengthens the supply chains of its members' enterprises, giving them access to quality inputs and support in marketing their products.

 

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