Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Featured Field Partner: FATEN: Palestine for Credit & Development

By Sam Kendall, Review and Translation Program Intern

Adel is a physical education teacher who has always wanted to have a sportswear store. With savings and his first FATEN loan, he was finally able to open his own business.


*Kiva Field Partner since: June 2009
*Loans through Kiva: $1,226,225
*Number of entrepreneurs assisted through Kiva: 660
*Focus: Low-income and economically active small-scale enterprises and micro entrepreneurs, especially women

Palestine for Credit & Development (FATEN) is a not-for-profit organization that emerged out of a project launched in Palestine by Save the Children International in January 1995. Independent since 1999, FATEN is now one of the leading microfinance organizations in Palestine, dedicated to providing financial services to small and micro entrepreneurs through its network of 12 branches in the West Bank and Gaza territories.

Etidal is a mother. She lives in a refugee camp in Nablus with her husband, who is a construction worker. Five years ago, Etidal started providing sewing services out of her house to earn extra income for the household and to save up for her children's education. She took a FATEN loan in order to purchase a new and efficient sewing machine for her business.

Hope Despite Instability
Despite the unstable political and security situation in the region, FATEN’s staff is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Palestine by providing its clients a diversity of loan products to suit their needs and economic opportunities. The organization operates 12 branches in major cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and, as of March 2011, served more than 12,000 clients (of which 80% are women) and managed a portfolio of $24 million.

At-Risk Groups
According to data by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 70% of the population is below the age of 30. As most small businesses hire a small staff, this leaves youth with very low chances for employment. Recognizing that the new generation needs more income-generating opportunities, FATEN has created a Pioneer loan specifically geared towards youth to help them start their own small businesses.
FATEN also works with Palestinian refugees, who represent a significant number of the 57% of the population living below the poverty line. In 2009, 35% of FATEN’s clients were Palestinian refugees living in camps around the West Bank and Gaza.

Working with Traditions
FATEN offers a loan product that complies with Islamic law, which states that one can not receive interest on a loan because money should be viewed only as a medium of exchange, rather than as a commodity with its own intrinsic value. FATEN’s Murabaha loan product has no monthly interest payments (the client instead pays an up-front fee for the service FATEN provides), and is thus appropriate for clients who view traditional micro lending as counter to their beliefs. This type of loan represents roughly 28% of FATEN’s portfolio.

International Support
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced in April 2011 that it will be providing a $3 million loan and advisory services to FATEN to help expand its outreach and promote job creation in the region.

Learn more about FATEN's services on their Kiva Partner Page or lend to one of their borrowers.

Borrower photos provided by FATEN.