The Iraqi Microfinance Awards 2010

The Iraqi Microfinance Awards was launched at the USAID-Tijara Inclusive Financial Services Stakeholders’ Conference 2010 to celebrate those who have contributed innovative and original work within the Iraqi microfinance industry.

The Iraqi Microfinance Awards 2010 recognize MFIs that have gone above and beyond, and demonstrated noteworthy leadership in the following categories: Leadership in Innovation – Technology and Product, Governance Systems, Depth of Outreach to the Poor, Depth of Outreach to Women.

Leadership in Innovation – Technology: Al-Bashaer and CHF Iraq

CHF-Iraq

CHF-Iraq is recognized for exploring with Mobile Network Operator (MNO) Zain and the Bank of Baghdad the use of mobile banking for disbursing and repaying loans. This will help gain cost effective outreach to the poor and women located in more remote rural areas, especially in southern Iraq. In addition, CHF-Iraq is exploring other ways to use the technology to expand and deepen financial services even further, including the adaptation of savings deposit mobilization through the Bank of Baghdad.

Al-Bashaer

This award recognizes Al-Bashaer’s initiative in advancing the discussion on alternative delivery channels. Demonstrated leadership in unleashing the potential of technology, namely mobile banking, to increase outreach to the poor and reduce costs. Similar to CHF-Iraq, Al Bashaer is also exploring other ways to use the technology to expand and deepen financial services even further, including the adaptation of savings deposit mobilization through the Bank of Baghdad.

Leadership in Innovation – Product

Tallafar Economic Development Center (TEDC)

TEDC is recognized for taking the initiative to offer a rural agriculture loan product that is demand-driven. This loan product also serves to diversify the development and entrepreneurial initiatives of Iraq in its rural areas by promoting the expansion of agribusiness. Agribusiness and agriculture have made significant contributions to Iraq’s economic growth and prosperity in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

Transparent & Accountable Governance System

Al-Takadum

This award recognizes the initiative the Al Takadum board has undertaken to assure that governance of its MFI in one of the most challenging of security environments takes place according to what are considered governance best practices. Among these include the Board’s adherence to its terms of reference and charter such as holding regular meetings, effective oversight of the chief executives of the three Al Takadum branches, and balanced involvement in setting policy directions.

Depth of Outreach to the Poor

Izdiharona Economic Development (IED)

This award recognizes the initiative of the IED to have the lowest average outstanding loan balance per client at $515, and the greatest number of clients using the solidarity group lending, or SGL, methodology at 4,463 as members of over 1,400 groups.

Depth of Outreach to Women

Bright Future Foundation

BFF records the highest percentage of women served as clientele in its lending operations at 36%. Women are the backbones to any society wishing to get itself out of poverty and into prosperity. The fact that BFF is increasingly emphasizing its focus of lending on women bodes well for contributing to the alleviation of poverty and the creation of greater prosperity within the Kurdistan region and for the whole of Iraq.