Accion announced that the MetLife Foundation has awarded the American microfinance non-profit organisation a $250,000 grant over two years to support its new microfinance institution in Myanmar.
Earlier last month, Accion, together with the Dutch development bank FMO and Triodos Investment Management, said it will invest $6.85 million to expand the local microfinance firm, Dawn Microfinance.
Accion said with MetLife Foundation’s support it plans to transform Dawn into a commercial, double-bottom-line, sustainable microfinance institution with significantly expanded outreach.
Accion said it will build Dawn’s institutional capacity by strengthening its management and staff, expand its range of products and services to better meet client needs, strengthen management systems, information technology and internal controls and prioritise consumer education and client protection.
The consortium plans to expand Dawn’s loan portfolio from $2.6 million currently to more than $41 million over the next five years, and serve as many as 195,000 clients.
Myanmar was recently described by The Economist as the “final frontier”. More than a quarter of the country’s population of 51 million lives in poverty, with 80-90 percent lacking access to formal financial services.
Dr Moe Thouk, MetLife Chief Representative in Myanmar, said the deal will help Dawn reach a large number of the unbanked and under-banked people in the country.
“With the expertise and strengths that Accion, Triodos and FMO bring to Dawn, we are positive that this initiative will set the right tone for the industry to emulate.”
Accion and its partners said they will measure success in Myanmar by both assessing Dawn’s performance and examining how the work’s “demonstration effect” will encourage other financial inclusion players to invest in the country.
The partners anticipate that Dawn can serve as a role model for other microfinance institutions, helping to support and embed client protection, sound governance, financial literacy and social-performance management across the fledgling industry.
Originally launched in 2002 as a program of Save the Children, Dawn currently serves about 30,000 clients with loans ranging from $50 to $250. It consists of 120 employees and 12 branches in four different regions of Myanmar.