New Year, New Milestones: Looking Ahead to Year Six of The Financial Inclusion Project
Looking back on the last five years, FINCA Canada surpassed its goals year-over-year by successfully building and achieving financial equity for both women and men in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In partnership with the Government of Canada, the Financial Inclusion Project has seen remarkable success by improving living standards in impoverished nations, creating jobs and building assets and tools for both men and women.
Despite receiving approval from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to extend the Financial Inclusion Project for another year, recent security complications in Haiti have impacted FINCA clients and staff. Unfortunately, as a result, FINCA Haiti will be unable to move forward with the project in 2023.
Due to this unforeseen change, the project has expanded funds to further fuel activities in the DRC until the project’s close in September 2023. This transition of funds will provide opportunities for training new clients, community members and staff to ensure even more of an impact is made in our DRC communities. This year, the Financial Inclusion Project’s mission is to continue to promote the economic prosperity of low-income women and men in the DRC while staying true to the project’s four pillars of research, training, products & services and channels.
Establishing goals for 2023
As we start year six, we reflect on and celebrate the Financial Inclusion Project’s impact over the past year in Haiti and the DRC. Financial literacy training was a great success for both countries, surpassing all targeted goals. Our most recent diversity and inclusion course – the third of its kind – was also successfully launched and shared with other microfinance institutions. Toward the end of 2022, we saw improvements in poverty rates in FINCA clients in both nations, with DRC moving from 12 percent to 9 percent and Haiti from 34.6 percent to 32.6 percent.
Looking to the year ahead, we anticipate FINCA DRC will see substantial improvements. Further implementing the financial literacy training program and improving our clients’ financial management skills will be key milestones. Progress here will ensure the financial products and services that FINCA DRC offers will become even more accessible, and we are proud that our colleagues remain the country’s only microfinance institution to offer financial literacy training to community members.
Other key milestones in the DRC to watch for include the following:
- Adapting to digital payments with CFC/FLASH: This investment will provide clients with more accessible and innovative ways to make an electronic payment transaction, including via CLICK App, FINCA mobile, USSD channels, as well as a pre-paid bank card.
- Celebrating new successes in the Juste Pour Elle loan program: By the end of September 2022, this loan program supported 1,468 active women customers with an outstanding portfolio of USD 7.8 million. In 2023, the program will continue reaching as many women entrepreneurs as possible with the goal of an additional 1,200 loans with a total disbursement of USD 7.5 million.
- Expanding diversity and inclusion resources: In March 2023, we will introduce Culture and Values – our fourth diversity and inclusion course for FINCA DRC staff. This course will allow FINCA DRC staff to enhance their knowledge and understanding of diversity and inclusion while making FINCA DRC’s financial services more accessible to women.
Acknowledging our success and striving for a year beyond measure
Building on the success of the Financial Inclusion Project over the last five years, we are proud to be able to continue supporting vulnerable populations in 2023. We look forward to continuing to empower individuals and share resources that dismantle socioeconomic, political, technological and environmental limitations surrounding communities within the DRC.
Providing financial services, implementing training for staff and the community, and offering life-changing loans for women entrepreneurs have allowed many men and women to improve their living standards. The impact of these services also allows us to understand better how to continue to work beyond our goals and create financial inclusion for all. We are extremely proud of all we accomplished in year five and look forward to many more achievements in the year.