6th European Microfinance Award
6th European Microfinance Award Recognises Excellence in Providing Financial Services in Post-disaster, Post-conflict Areas & Fragile States
€100,000 prize to be awarded during European Microfinance Week in November
The European Microfinance Platform is pleased to announce that the 6th European Microfinance Award recognises microfinance in post-disaster, post-conflict areas and fragile states, and welcomes applications from institutions that have demonstrated an integrated response to support and build resilience for vulnerable households and communities living in exceptionally difficult environments or circumstances.
After natural disasters, health crises or armed conflicts, populations experience critical levels of poverty, insecurity and instability. Not just people, but infrastructure, economic conditions, social cohesion and mobility are all victims of disaster or conflict in so-called “fragile states”. And while addressing these challenges requires a spectrum of interventions, microfinance - alongside traditional relief and aid channels - can play a key role in creating employment, driving economic growth, ensuring a range of critical services, and bringing people together during times of need and shared challenge.
But microfinance is difficult to do well even in stabile markets, and is even harder in the aftermath of disaster or as a region transitions from civil conflict into a fragile peace. The systemic risks are both internal – such as increases in portfolio at risk through default or delinquency, or a drying up of capital or run on savings – and external – from environmental and infrastructural to macroeconomic slowdown or currency depreciation.
In the face of these enormous challenges, certain MFIs demonstrate that the hurdles are surmountable. While every situation is different, what these institutions share include flexibility, vision, patience, resilience and compassion. Many have shown that they can operate and even thrive in these contexts, providing a range of financial and social services to clients who’re at their most vulnerable, and in doing so, increase financial inclusion, help the economy, and build a positive vision for the future when it’s so desperately needed.
To this end, the 6th European Microfinance Award will recognise MFIs that operate in post-disaster/post-conflict areas and provide financial and non-financial services aimed to increase the resilience of the affected, vulnerable population. The Award of €100,000 is granted by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs – Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and is jointly organised by the Ministry, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) and the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg (InFiNe.lu) in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB). It will be presented at the Award Ceremony on 19th November 2015 during the European Microfinance Week.
Successful applicants should demonstrate an effective strategy to increase both their own resilience (i.e. operations, staff, policy, control) and that of their clients (appropriate financial and non-financial services), while ensuring responses that provide both for the immediate, medium- and long-term needs of the latter. They must be active in the financial services sector and be based in a developing country. Various types of microfinance institutions are eligible including NGOs, cooperatives, MFI networks, investments funds, commercial banks, development banks, leasing firms, insurance companies, etc.
The application deadline was 3rd June and a total of 47 applications from 28 countries were recieved. Thank you to all organisations who applied! The selection process is underway and more news will be available end of September.