Fonkoze Wins 2005 Microfinance Practitioners Award
October 31, 2005
Washington D.C./October 31, 2005/
Two of the world's leading microfinance institutions are the 2005 winners of Grameen Foundation USA's (GFUSA) Microfinance Practitioner Awards. Swayam Krishi Sangam (SKS) of India will receive the Excellence Award and Fonkoze of Haiti will receive the Pioneer Award on November 2, 2005, at GFUSA's annual Microfinance Practitioners Awards Dinner at the Links Club in New York City. Together, SKS and Fonkoze reach more than 150,000 of the world's poorest people.
“Eliminating poverty is a realistic goal if resources are applied where they are needed and local people and organizations are actively engaged,” said GFUSA president Alex Counts. “Microfinance organizations are critical front-line partners in this effo
rt and we applaud SKS and Fonkoze for the tremendous work they are doing to empower more people to lift themselves out of poverty.”
Microfinance is a proven poverty reduction strategy. Very poor people, mostly women, receive very small loans to start income producing businesses. The income allows them to improve their lives and help their families overcome the ravages of severe poverty.
GFUSA's Microfinance Practitioners Awards honor those who fight global poverty through microfinance. The program celebrates excellence and ingenuity in the industry, fosters knowledge exchange among those expanding the frontiers of microfinance and advocates for innovation and creativity. The awards dinner was first held in 2000 and has been held annually since 2002.
Founded in 1998, SKS is receiving the Excellence Award for its overall achievement in outreach to the poorest, financial performance, and innovations that benefit both the organization and the industry. One of the fastest growing microfinance
organizations in the world, SKS has provided over $36 million in loans to nearly 140,000 women in India's drought-prone Deccan region. In the last year alone, SKS grew by nearly 300 percent and has a current portfolio of $14 million and a 99 percent on-time repayment rate. It is also one of the first microfinance institutions to have a fully-automated management information system.
“We have seen how (micro)finance enables the poor to overcome the vicious cycle of poverty and we are determined to bring this opportunity to the poor throughout India,” said Vikram Akula, founder and CEO of SKS. “Now we aspire to scale up even further, and pursue an aggressive growth strategy that will reach over one million poor families by 2010.”
The Pioneer Award recognizes emerging programs breaking new ground as innovators or working in regions that have been traditionally underserved by quality microfinance programs. Founded in 1994, Fonkoze (Haiti's Alternative Bank for the Organized Poor) is Haiti's largest m
icrofinance institution and serves more than 27,000 active borrowers (96 percent of whom are women). Fonkoze Financial Services, the commercial entity, offers a full range of services, including microcredit, savings, currency exchange, and money transfers to the rural poor, while the nonprofit foundation focuses on innovations in delivering microfinance and related educational services.
“We are committed to preparing the extremely poor, who are prevented from having hope-filled lives and effective futures, to succeed in microfinance by replicating in Haiti proven models developed around the world,” said Anne Hastings, Fonkoze director.
Akula and Hastings will also join members of GFUSA's board and a stellar group of thought leaders and practitioners on November 5, in Dallas, Texas, to explore the urgent need to increase the reach and impact of microfinance at GFUSA's annual “Knowledge Sharing Roundtable.”
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