Thursday, November 17, 2011

NFS Series: Education Services Part 3: Tamweelcom and Education

What good is a business loan if the recipient doesn’t have a solid understanding of how the loan works, how to balance revenues and costs, or how to manage the financial aspects of their life in general? While access to financial services is a critical ingredient to the fight against poverty, understanding how to manage and successfully utilize those services is just as vital. Kiva understands the importance of education, particularly financial education, and we value Field Partners that incorporate this aspect when assisting entrepreneurs. In Part 1 and 2 of Education in our series on nonfinancial services, Monique Cohen from Microfinance Opportunities (MFO) explains how financial education can be offered through a Microfinance Institution (MFI), and how this education is delivered to clients. In part 3 of Education we highlight a Kiva Field Partner, Tamweelcom based in Jordan, who excels at providing their clients hands-on, practical business training and financial education.

Kathy Guis, Kiva Sr. Field Support Specialist, training Tamweelcom staff member, Abrar Sowi

Tamweelcom is a non-profit company owned by the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation (NHF) and was established to pioneer the field of micro-enterprise support and development. They disburse loans to small business projects and provides training, marketing and community-oriented programs consistent with its commitment to social responsibility. Tamweelcom's mission is to provide financial and nonfinancial services to low-income communities, to improve their social and living standards by adopting and implementing international microfinance best practices. Their focus on nonfinancial services has earned the non-profit a 3+ rating from Planet Rating. The rating signifies that the organization has a “Clear intent to reach social goals; while social performance management systems are being implemented”.

In order achieve these social goals Tamweelcom provides training, marketing and scholarship programs to its clients. They have designed these services to prioritize client needs and support a success-oriented, sustainable work environment. These programs include: Business to Business Linkages, “Aman” (Safety) Insurance, school educational grants, business development training, the Loyalty Card with membership rewards, free medical days providing medical services to clients and their communities, partnerships with e-commerce websites to sell client products online; as well as Souk Ayyadi, a marketing program that promotes retail sales for clients through permanent showrooms and bazaars throughout Jordan.

The Business to Business Linkage program is a client network that enables their clientele to develop personal projects and marketing capabilities through shared expertise and cooperative use of materials and skills. This is a very hands-on approach to business training and an efficient use of their clientele as they can take advantage of the experience and talent their clients have to offer each other.

The Tamweelcom team!

School Educational Grants provide educational scholarships to the children of the institution’s poorest clients. As of December 2008, 1,000 grants of 16.5 JOD (23 USD) each were disbursed, equivalent to 1.7% of the net income. Awarding grants to deserving children not only promotes education, but also allows borrowers to concentrate on making sure their profits can be diverted back into their business or other life priorities.

The Souk Ayyadi Services aim at helping clients sell their products through occasional bazaars in different locations and two permanent showrooms in Amman and Aqaba. In 2008, 335 clients displayed their products in permanent showrooms in Mecca Mall (Amman) and Aqaba and reached 120 clients. This technique is another hands-on option for clients to both gain valuable sales and marketing experience with the support of staff nearby, as well as begin to develop a customer base for their products.

Kiva works hard to partner with organizations that prioritize the social needs of their clients in additional to their financial needs. We understand that a combination of financial and nonfinancial services is the most effective way to promote sustainable poverty alleviation and we are proud to work with such a talented and diverse group of partners.

Stay tuned for our third installment of the nonfinancial services series on Women’s Empowerment with Mary Ellen Iskenderian from Women’s World Banking!

To read the previous sections of this series click on Introducing Kiva's Nonfinancial Services Blog Series.