Webinar on Covid-19 Impact on the Rural Poor and MFIs
InM and Concern Worldwide, under the FIN-B umbrella, organised a webinar on “Covid-19 Impact on the Rural Poor and MFIs: Innovations in Resilience Building” focusing on the nature and level of impact of Covid-19 on the rural poor households and the microfinance sector of Bangladesh. The webinar was held on 5 November 2020.
Two research papers on Covid-19 impact were presented. The paper by InM researchers was on “Covid-19 and MFIs in Bangladesh: Innovations in Resilience Building” while the paper from Concern Worldwide was entitled “Empowering Women and Youth through Graduation and Financial Inclusion”.
The webinar was chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of InM while the panelists included Prof. Dr. Atiur Rahman, Bangabandhu Chair, University of Dhaka and former Governor, Bangladesh Bank and Dr. Gretta Ftizgerald, Director Programme, Concern Worldwide Bangladesh. More than 100 participants from the MFIs and other organisations attended the webinar.
Webinar Minutes (Bangla)
ইনস্টিটিউট ফর ইনক্লুসিভ ফিন্যান্স এন্ড ডেভেলপমেন্ট (আইএনএম) এবং কনসার্ন ওয়ার্ল্ড ওয়াইড এর উদ্যোগে বিগত ৫ নভেম্বর ২০২০ একটি যৌথ অনলাইন সেমিনার অনুষ্ঠিত হয় । সেমিনারে সেপ্টেম্বর মাসে আইএনএম পরিচালিত অনলাইন জরিপের ভিত্তিতে প্রস্তুতকৃত ‘কোভিড-১৯ এবং বাংলাদেশের এমএফআই: ঝুঁকি মোকাবিলার সক্ষমতা অর্জনে করনীয়’ গবেষণাপত্রটির সারাংশ উপস্থাপন করা হয় । বিস্তারিত
FIN-B Member’s Training Workshop on Mental Health and Professional Productivity
The Financial Inclusion Network, Bangladesh (FIN-B), an initiative of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), organised a workshop on ‘Mental Health and Professional Productivity’ in collaboration with Life-spring Consultancy Ltd. and KK Foundation on 25 February 2020. The workshop discussed the mental health issues that directly affect productivity in the work-life and on the ways of attaining a good work-life balance. InM Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad and Executive Director Dr Mustafa K. Mujeri attended the workshop along with the participants including Executive Directors of FIN-B member organisations, doctors, bankers, psychologists and development practitioners.
The mental health session was conducted by Dr Saydul Ashraf, Lead Psychiatrist, LifeSpring Consultancy Ltd. and explained the importance of building a sound mind to lead a healthy and successful life. He discussed signs of clinical depression, self-discovery and good life philosophy along with a short mental health assessment among the participants. This was followed by a mindfulness session conducted by Dr Shusama Reza, Lead Psychosexologist, Lifespring Consultancy Ltd. At the concluding session, Mr Yahia Md. Amin, Chairman, Lifespring Consultancy Ltd, focused on providing mental health services both to the development target groups and development practitioners. He argued that the people were unlikely to grow to their full potential unless they had a strong mindset to improve their own life. This was the very reason why many development projects had failed to put a long term impact on the poor people. He emphasised on building collaboration among the development practitioners and psychological health service providers.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, InM elaborated on the scope of working together for the overall well-being of the deprived people. He argued that human welfare dimensions should not be compartmentalised as these always worked together to enhance human welfare. People’s mental well-being and human and other development dimensions were interconnected; and these needed integrated development to lead a dignified life.
Besides, Ms Sifat-E-Azam, Executive Director of the KK Foundation conducted a short session on different activities with street children and an innovative product designed for marginalised poultry farmers. The workshop was concluded with the speech of Dr Mustafa K. Mujeri, Executive Director, InM.
We already have another In-house session on mental health On 29 January 2020 conducted by LifeSpring Consultancy Ltd. All of the InM employees along with Dr Mustafa K Mujeri, Executive Director, InM, Mr Sabbir Ahmed Chowdhury, Director, InM and Dr Md. Mosleh Uddin Sadeque, Director, Training, InM had participated in this session. It was quite engaging and effective.
REGIONAL DIALOGUE ON ‘Partnerships Against Extreme Poverty: Putting the Financial Needs of the Extreme Poor First’
REGIONAL DIALOGUE on ‘Partnerships Against Extreme Poverty: Putting the Financial Needs of the Extreme Poor First’ was held on 27 November 2019 at 10:00 am at Conference Room of DC Office, Kurigram. Renowned economist and development specialist of Bangladesh, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad graced the occasion as Chief Guest and Mst. Sultana Parvin, Deputy Commissioner, Kurigram was present as special Guest at the dialogue. The programme was presided over by Executive Director of InM, Dr. Mustafa K Mujeri. 150 participants from FIN-B Members, PKSF POs, government organisations, local academicians and other stakeholders were present at the programme. FIN-B, in collaboration with Concern Worldwide Bangladesh, organised this important programme.
The Financial Inclusion Network-Bangladesh (FIN-B), an initiative of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), provides a platform to develop, share and disseminate knowledge and expertise in financial inclusion through stimulating exchanges, developing collaboration and supporting its members to develop as centres of excellence in their preferred areas of inclusive finance.
The principal aim is to leverage expertise in advancing financial inclusion as a key instrument for poverty reduction and inclusive growth and development in Bangladesh. The Network is a unique platform to bring together all financial sector stakeholders including government organisations/financial regulators/banks/MFIs/NGOs/financial institutions/local government and grassroots organisations for sharing ideas and best practices from home and abroad. FIN-B seeks to provide various services in an efficient, socially responsive, transparent and sustainable manner that encourages experience, resource sharing and promotion of best practices.
Since poverty, extreme poverty in particular, is not limited to a lack of economic resources but also to the absence of access to the wider means to live a life in human dignity, being poor is multidimensional, encompassing both deprivations and lack of capabilities. As such, no single correct definition of poverty exists, and we need to include particular social, cultural and historical contexts for identifying the poor. Policy implications thus differ according to how poverty is defined and effective poverty reduction measures need to integrate the views of the people living in poverty and extreme poverty as well.
‘Putting the financial needs of the extreme poor first’ means that we must develop financial products and services that meet the needs of the poorest and the most vulnerable populations. The organisations (e.g. NGO-MFIs) entering into partnerships with InM will commit themselves to work with all stakeholders to help design and test these products. As we develop products that meet the needs and aspirations of those in extreme poverty at prices they can afford, this will improve the efficiency of the overall financial system. This will also put in place the mechanisms for achieving ‘Finance for All’.
This regional dialogue with relevant government organisations, local government institutions (LGIs), NGO-MFIs, development practitioners and other agencies including government officials brought together the ground realities for addressing extreme poverty and restore human dignity in specific contexts. This is likely to help innovate new pathways of addressing extreme poverty and integrate the hard core poor communities and financial inclusion issues. To better reach the poorest and most vulnerable populations, FIN-B tried to ensure that the dialogue included women, children, the elderly, the disabled, marginal communities, and the members of cultural and religious minorities.
- To facilitate cross-learning across all relevant stakeholders (e.g. government institutions, LGIs, NGO-MFIs, Concern Worldwide Bangladesh, InM, FIN-B members, development practitioners and the extreme poor communities) to help design, test, and scale up products and services that both reach those living in extreme poverty and facilitate their journey out of extreme poverty.
- To share and exchange views on how FIN-B, InM and similar organisations can effectively support sustainable financial inclusion of these vulnerable groups and facilitate their graduation out of poverty.
International financial inclusion conference ends
FIN-B Collaboration Meeting with Water.org
Through its knowledge sharing and networking activity, FIN-B helps promote ‘financial inclusion for all’ which will go a long way towards achieving the SDGs by 2030 and fulfilling the dream of making the country a developed one by 2041. To support this agenda, FIN-B is seeking collaboration of different organisations having similar goals.
In line with that FIN-B submitted a proposal on ‘Financial Inclusion and WASH: A Mix of Appropriate Credit and Strategic Partnerships for Water and Sanitation Development in Coastal Bangladesh’ for institutional partnership with Water.org. In response, Water.org considered the approach and suggested FIN-B and InM partnership on their upcoming project on ‘Water Credit Model’, which works through supporting regional financial institutions to develop and offer Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) loan products.
To discuss the detailed modalities of such partnership, a senior official team of Water.org visited InM and shared their ideas with InM core team members. The successful meeting was presided over by Dr Mustafa K Mujeri, Executive Director, InM. Among others the Directors of InM; Bangladesh Country Director of Water.org and Head of South Asian Region of Water.org were present in the meeting.
FIN-B Institutional Collaboration Meeting
A meeting was organised on 20 March 2019 with the Bangladesh General Insurance Company (BGIC), InM and interested FIN-B members on ‘Khubi Agent Model’ for delivering microinsurance services to the low income customers, especially in the rural areas. Under the model, microinsurance (Khudra-Bima, Khubi) agents (e.g. NGO-MFIs) will work with BGIC for delivering different microinsurance products to the poor borrowers and rural residents to meet emergencies and disasters. The model starts with two microinsurance products: personal accident (PA) and people’s personal accident (PPA), and is expected to cover other products in phases.
The interested FIN-B member NGO-MFIs made several observations on the proposed model. InM, under the FIN-B platform, coordinated the meeting and plans to hold additional follow up meetings for achieving successful outcomes.
1st FIN-B Members Coordination Meeting
FIN-B provides a platform to develop, share and disseminate knowledge and expertise in financial inclusion through stimulating exchanges, developing collaboration and supporting its members to develop as centres of excellence in their preferred areas of inclusive finance. As a part of this activity, the first meeting with the FIN-B members was organised on 20 March 2019.
FIN-B 3rd SC Meeting
The 3rd Steering Committee (SC) meeting of FIN-B was held on 28 January 2019 at PKSF Conference Room. Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of InM and the SC presided over the meeting. A total of 23 members and/or their representatives were present in the meeting. The organisations included
- Bangladesh Bank (BB)
- Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA)
- Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM)
- Bangladesh General Insurance Company Ltd. (BGIC)
- SME Foundation
- Integrated Development Foundation (IDF)
- Access to Information (A2i) Programme
- University of Dhaka
- Credit and Development Forum (CDF)
- Bank Asia Limited
- Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM)
The SC discussed probable working avenues of FIN-B and approved its work plan for 2019. The Committee expressed their appreciation over the publications of FIN-Biz, the half-yearly flagship journal of FIN-B and Finimile, a quarterly newsletter of the Network. In addition, the SC approved the proposal of organising the 1st FIN-B International Financial Inclusion Conference and Inclusion Fair 2019, to be held in July 2019 and a FIN-B member’s collaboration meeting in March 2019. Moreover, the Committee approved three project proposals, to be implemented through the leadership of FIN-B and with the collaboration of different organisations.
FIN-B 2nd Steering Committee Meeting Held
The second Steering Committee (SC) meeting of FIN-B was held on 8 March 2018 at PKSF Conference Room in which important decisions were taken about the future activities of the Network.
Launching Ceremony of FIN-B
Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM) organised the Launching Ceremony of the ‘Financial Inclusion Network, Bangladesh (FIN-B)’on 18th January 2018 (Thursday) at 9 am at PKSF Auditorium, PKSF Bhaban. Agargaon, Dhaka.
Mr. M. A. Mannan MP, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning, GoB graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
The session was chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, InM. Dr. Atiur Rahman, Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka and Former Governor, Bangladesh Bank presented the keynote paper in the ceremony.
Selected dignitaries, policymakers, academicians, researchers, relevant stakeholders, and development practitioners are expected to participate in the discussion
Financial Inclusion Network, Bangladesh (FIN-B)
At the initiative of InM, the Financial Inclusion Network-Bangladesh (FIN-B) has been established in 2018 to develop, share and disseminate knowledge and expertise on financial inclusion. The Network stimulates mutual exchanges, helps develop collaboration, and promotes the Network to its members as a knowledge partner in their preferred areas of inclusive finance.
The major thrust of FIN-B activities is to leverage expertise in advancing financial inclusion as a key instrument for poverty reduction and inclusive growth and development. It is a unique platform to bring together all financial sector stakeholders including relevant government organisations, banks, NGO-MFIs, other financial institutions, and local government and grassroots organisations for sharing ideas and best practices from home and abroad.
The specific objectives of FIN-B are to:
- Identify key thematic issues of financial inclusion and create and disseminate knowledge and good practices from home and abroad.
- Adopt social marketing techniques to promote and popularise financial inclusion as a key development issue with significant potential of providing benefits to the financially excluded groups and transforming the society at large.
- Identify and Implement programmes, targeting policymakers, providers and excluded groups and sectors for raising awareness on financial inclusion and designing products and services to meet the wide range of financial needs of the excluded groups, especially the poor households and marginalised sectors (e.g. CMSMEs) in the economy.
- Develop innovative programmes of financial inclusion for different disadvantaged segments of the country’s population/enterprises.
- Provide support for capacity building of member institutions and establish synergies and collaboration amongst its members on financial inclusion issues.
- Create partnership and institutional arrangements among the government institutions (especially the local government institutions), financial institutions, civil society organizations (including the NGO-MFIs) and private sector stakeholders to design and implement innovative advocacy programmes consistent with financial inclusion for all.
- Develop institutional mechanisms for designing and implementing advocacy programmes and disseminating knowledge products based on solid evidence and using proven techniques of knowledge sharing.
- Develop linkages and partnerships and share knowledge with other network groups, international agencies and regional associations having similar ideas to mutually benefit from specific policies and programme initiatives.
The Network adopts strategies for financial advocacy for designing and implementing different financial advocacy programmes which will encourage the financially excluded through raising awareness regarding rights and benefits and developing public-private partnerships on financial inclusion issues to access formal financial services.
For guiding FIN-B activities , a 23-member Steering Committee works under the Chairmanship of Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of InM and PKSF. The Committee includes representatives from Bangladesh Bank, Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance, banks, insurance and other nonbank financial institutions, research organisations, MFIs and other stakeholders. At present, the total number of membership of FIN-B is 72 which cover different types of financial and related institutions.