CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial inclusion pioneer Accion announced today that the MetLife Foundation has awarded Accion a $250,000 grant over two years to support its new MFI, Dawn Microfinance, in Myanmar.
Accion, together with Dutch development bank FMO and Triodos Investment Management, recently closed their investment in Dawn, with the goal of building it into a premier institution that can serve as a model for the country's nascent industry and influence the overall development of the sector.
With MetLife Foundation's support, Accion plans to transform Dawn into a commercial, double-bottom-line, sustainable microfinance institution with significantly expanded outreach. Accion will build Dawn's institutional capacity by strengthening its management and staff; expand its range of products and services to better meet client needs; strengthen management systems, information technology and internal controls; and prioritize consumer education and client protection. The consortium plans to expand Dawn's loan portfolio from $2.6m currently to more than $41m over the next five years, and serve as many as 195,000 clients.
Myanmar was recently described by The Economist as the 'final frontier.' More than a quarter of the country's population of 51 million lives in poverty, with 80-90 percent lacking access to formal financial services.
"We are excited to partner with Accion to work on reaching a large number of the un- and under-banked people in the country," said Dr. Moe Thouk, MetLife Chief Representation in Myanmar. "With the expertise and strengths that Accion, Triodos and FMO bring to Dawn, we are positive that this initiative will set the right tone for the industry to emulate," he added.
Accion and its partners will measure success in Myanmar by both assessing Dawn's performance and examining how the work's 'demonstration effect' will encourage other financial inclusion leaders to invest in the country. The partners anticipate that Dawn can serve as a role model for other microfinance institutions, helping to support and embed client protection, sound governance, financial literacy and social-performance management across the fledgling industry.
Originally launched in 2002 as a program of Save the Children, Dawn currently serves approximately 30,000 clients with loans ranging from $50 to $250. It consists of 120 employees and 12 branches in four different regions of Myanmar.
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2014, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $650 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.
Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world with economic opportunity for all, by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. We are building the next generation of top-tier microfinance institutions, and over the last 50 years have helped create 64 such institutions in 32 countries on four continents that today reach millions of clients. Our impact investing initiatives are pushing beyond microfinance to catalyze more than 20 innovative start-ups dedicated to improving the efficiency, reach and scope of financial services for the poor. And our Center for Financial Inclusion is helping to build a stronger industry with high standards. Currently, our work spans nearly two dozen countries, including the U.S., where we are the nation's largest nonprofit microfinance network. For further information, visit www.accion.org.