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Microfinance Techincal Assistance Project in Developing Countries in 2018

JICA's Project to enhance institutional capacities of cooperatives to improve the livelihoods of small-scale, low income farmers affected by Typhoon Haiyen in the Philippines.

Supporting JICA's financial inclusion project for smallhoder families in Albania, PPJ participating the project


Improving livelihoods of small scale, Low income Farmers affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Project period: September 2015 - February 2019

     PPJ has completed, in February 2019, the JICA’s grass root technical cooperation project aimed at improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Leyte, Philippines through the enhancement of microfinance institutions’ (MFI) service delivering capacity. 

     The followings are four main achievements;

1)     An agricultural microfinance loan product developed and tested to meet small-scale farmers’ needs and suit crop cultivation cycle.  

2)     An Emergency Saving product designed for being able to withdraw only at poor harvest periods, and to diminish debt risk that both of small-scale farmers and MFIs face.

3)     MFI staff facilitation skills enhanced to conduct financial literacy trainings considering gender issues to small-scale farmers. 

4)     MFIs’ institutional capacity strengthened through balancing financial performance with social performance.

 

     Through the above achievements, we think that the team was able to contribute to improving livelihoods of small-scale, low income farmers affected by Typhoon Haiyan. However, it seems to take much time for the MFIs to drastically improve their operations. This is because many cooperative MFIs tend to hesitate in any change and just keep their custom that was continued for long years. That is why long-term efforts for changing the mindset of management officials and office staff should be needed. We expect that our partner MFIs will continue to make an effort for the small-scale, low income farmers in Leyte, utilizing knowledge and skills gained through this project. 

    

      The followings are feedback from the partner MFIs

·       Customer screening and loan portfolio optimization were improved. 

·       We understood that risk mitigating measures such as Emergency Saving are very important in protecting not only MFIs but also customers because agriculture is vulnerable to natural catastrophe and the farmers are constantly under threat of crop failure.  

·       Thanks to the introduction of Social Performance Management, the organization’s image was improved among customers and the staff have become more accountable and  be aware of the importance of their work.

 

 

 

Supporting JICA's Smallholder Families’ Financial Inclusion Project in Albania. Project period October 2017 - September 2021

 From October 2017 to September 2021, JICA is promoting financial inclusion for smallholder families in Albania. The aim of the project is to help smallholder families establish economic fundamentals.  PPJ is engaged in this project in cooperation with Kaihatsu Management Consulting, Inc., which is managing this project.  

The project is going to provide support in three main areas to a local financial institution called FEDinvest, which provides financial services to clients in the rural districts in Albania. These include: (1) development and implementation of new financial services, (2) development and implementation of non-financial services, and (3) implementation of new core banking system and branchless banking system to FEDinvest. PPJ offers expertise to the project in the third area of support.  

In November 2017, the JICA project team members conducted the initial kick-off meeting in Albania with FEDinvest to discuss and formalize the outline of the project plan and working plan.

 

In 2018, the team conducted market research, needs assessment and the result analysis regarding financial services and non-financial services. As for implementation of new core banking system, we first assessed the system function, the price and the operation in order to make a short list of possible banking systems (software and hardware). As implementation of new banking system will significantly affect the business of FEDinvest, Senior management and managers in main divisions also participated the assessment process. While old system only supported limited banking function (e.g. loan and partially deposit), new system is expected to provide more function; such as, cash settlement including foreign currency and other banking functions as well as the information management system for customer data and management data. After selection of system vendor candidates (RFI: Request for Information), assessment of proposals from those vendors (RFP: Request for Proposal), etc., one system vendor was selected. In the process of selection, we evaluated following points; global track record as a banking system, stability of systems, adaptabilities for the local language and regulatory reporting in Albania, and supporting services in Albania. In November 2018, the contract was concluded between JICA, FEDinvest and the vendor after negotiation of the prices, terms and conditions.  The implementation of new software and hardware commenced December 2018. 

Actual operation of the new system is supposed to start in winter of 2019; therefore, we are currently providing advices and supports to FEDinvest during the process of system implementation, data migration, and in-house training. 

In 2019, the project will enter the second stage, that is the time for achieving financial inclusion in Albania, after the need assessment of financial and non-financial services and the implementation of IT infrastructure.

Urban country side of Albania
FED invest Senior Management and senior staff member
PC terminal for Core Banking System donated by JICA

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