Monday, August 6, 2012

New Field Partner: BRAC Pakistan goes where no microfinance has gone before

We're thrilled to announce our newest Field Partner, BRAC Pakistan!

A global leader in creating opportunities for the poor, BRAC has changed the lives of many in the past 40 years. Founded in a remote village of Bangladesh in 1972, BRAC has become the world's largest development organization with a focus in microfinance and financial empowerment.

In 2007, BRAC started operations in Pakistan focusing on microfinance, health, and education. Currently, BRAC Pakistan serves 437,465 people in 14 districts of four provinces. Its microfinance program alone has 88 branches and serves 45,000 women borrowers. 

BRAC takes a unique, holistic approach to development, recognizing that all situations differ and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to poverty. This is exemplified in its financial products and the demographics it targets. 

With Kiva's zero-interest capital, BRAC will be able to expand its reach by offering microloans and micro-enterprise loans to poorer borrowers who have had little to no access to formal finance.

Microloans: Ranging from $100 to $800, these loans are designed for groups of women borrowers that don’t require collateral. They are repaid weekly in 46 equal installments.

Micro-enterprise loans: Ranging from $800 to $5,000 and no collateral required -- only a third person guarantee -- they are designed to help entrepreneurs in rural and semi-urban areas start and grow their small businesses. These loans are extended to entrepreneurs who have no access to formal financial services.

Believing that education is an avenue to escape poverty, BRAC Pakistan has started 20 pre-primary schools. These schools enroll a total of 600 students, 61% of whom are girls. In the town of Haripur in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), BRAC has transformed the community through extensive education for children. 

Prior to attending school, a young girl named Iqra suffering from a developmental disability would not communicate -- not even with her family. After working closely with BRAC teachers, Iqra is now excelling and hopes to one day become a doctor. 

The BRAC area manager notes that the trick is to “treat kids well, make learning fun, and keep kids busy with the curriculum and extra-curricular activities.” 

Want to learn more about BRAC Pakistan? Check out its Kiva partner profile page, or email us at

Photos courtesy of BRAC.