-Sir Fazle Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC
BRAC believes that sustainable poverty reduction must unite both economic and social development. Microfinance activities are therefore seen as part of BRAC’s broader, holistic approach to development, by helping to build livelihoods, boost consumption, and improve access to a range of social services.
Since launching microfinance activities in 1974, BRAC has grown to become one of the world’s largest providers of financial services for the poor. Innovative, inclusive, and client-focused, BRAC has utilised its 40+ years of expertise to design, test, and adapt loan and savings products to meet the unique needs of people living in poverty. Today, 7 million people have collectively borrowed $2.3 billion to support themselves, their families and communities out of poverty.
Microfinance Multiplied, a term coined by BRAC is the idea the impact of microfinance can be amplified when paired with other development programs. BRAC understands that poverty exists on a case by case basis and a shifting scale of severity. Reaching all corners of marginalised communities requires innovation within micro financial services. Drawing upon BRACs expertise and making its interventions widely accessible in areas such as rural development, education and health enables BRAC to not only meet but go beyond the specific needs of different groups.
Microfinance Products & Services
BRAC offers a number of tailored savings and loans products to impoverished women, landless farmers, adolescents, migrant workers, and micro entrepreneurs. BRAC complements these solutions with financial education and client protection services that enable BRAC’s borrowers to make informed financial decisions.
Across the world, women are disproportionately excluded from financial systems and resources needed to manage households, limiting their ability to be self-sufficient, or contribute to the family’s income and decision-making. Further, money in the hands of women is more likely to be invested in family needs, such as nutrition, and education. To meet this need, BRAC provides women with access to collateral-free credit and savings services. These services are delivered through Village Organizations (VOs), which are community lending and savings groups of 15-40 women. VOs meet regularly with BRAC staff and also offer a valuable opportunity to increase financial literacy, raise awareness about women’s rights, and learn about BRAC’s other services.
bKashbKash – the fastest growing mobile money provider in the world: bKash, a joint venture between BRAC Bank and Money in Motion provides a complete mobile financial service solution to expand access to a broader range of financial services, with the ultimate goal of universal financial inclusion. With over 100,000 community-based agents, bKash has a subscription base of more than 17 million clients. Read more
Banking the PoorThe financial lives of poor people are no different from those of the rich. They require the means to feed their family every day and the ability to budget for big expenditures, such as weddings, children’s education and building a home. But if you’re poor, your income is small and unreliable. Read more about how to economically empower the poorest.
Rating progress towards financial inclusionBRAC has been an active supporter in the drive to facilitate universal financial access by 2020, having enabled the financial inclusion of over 7 million people in Bangladesh, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Myanmar. The Center for Financial Inclusion says that in three years, the number of unbanked have dropped from 2.5 billion to 2 billion. Read more
Winnie the Hardware Girl
Thanks to the microloans and training that Winnie Namugenyi received through the BRAC Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents program, she now runs a successful hardware store in Kyengera and is helping her family out of poverty.