Institute of micro-finance and cooperative development.

Nepali MFIs' managers on the Insightful Exposure Visit to Bangladesh MFIs

CSD organized an exposure visit to Bangladesh from September 13 to 20, 2015 to observe MFIs operations. The visit was coordinated by the Integrated Development Foundation (IDF), Bangladesh. Ms. Renu Prajapati- Training Officer of CSD led the team of six MFI managers- Mr. Pratap Narayan Shrestha- Senior Manager, Ms. Pramila Neupane Sedhai- Manager, Mr. Prem Bahadur Thapa- Branch Manager, Mr. Gopal Thapa- Branch Manager and Mr. Ramdev Chaudhary- Branch Manager of the Swabalamban Laghubitta Bikas Bank Ltd. (SLBBL) and Ms. Maiya Rai- Branch Manager of Jeevan Bikas Samaj. They got familiarized with the microfinance practices and models followed by different MFIs. They got acquainted with various products and services, market research and product development, best practices in processing loan, collections of payments and process for self- sustainability in most well known microfinance institutions of Bangladesh like Grameen Bank, BRAC and IDF. They also had a great opportunity to have brief audience with Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus.

The team visited the head office of IDF and Grameen Bank at Mirpur- Dhaka, Branch Office and Zonal Office of Grameen Bank, Regional Office of BRAC and Central Coordination Office (CCO) of IDF in Chittagong. The team got an opportunity to see IDF Solar Program and Health Program in Chittagong and two micro enterprises of IDF- Cow farming and Garment Industry in Uttarkhan, Dhaka. The participants also observed different centre meetings of all three organizations and had discussions in their branch offices and regional offices.

The lesson the team learnt is that for the sustainable development of clients, value added services such as solar, education, health insurance, sanitation and enterprise training should be integrated into the program.

Ms Maiya Rai from Jeevan Bikas Samaj said- "I learnt that one must enjoy his/ her work for self satisfaction and self development from Grameen Bank staff who have been always busy yet very cheerful". Ms. Pramila Neupane Sedhai of SLBBL was very much impressed to see the loyalty of the members and employees to their jobs and organization. They found that in terms of protection and security, the clients of Grameen were more proactive and helpful than the police officers.

Mr. Prem Thapa of SLBB remarked "In Bangladesh the poor people are not job seekers but job givers". The team has been so impressed of the IDF financing cow farm and garment industry which provide employment to hundreds of people. Both of the enterprises were started with small amount of loan and in small size which now have grown to medium size in few years time.

Overall the exposure visit helped the participants to have an insight on how the MFIs in Bangladesh could transform the lives of poor people and took them out of poverty with their own sustainability and stronger client base.