Grameen Bank Replication and the Principles of Microfinance

For a brief overview of the GBR (Grameen Bank Replication) methodology and its use by NWTF/Project Dungganon, see here.

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are often affiliated with larger networks, which help to secure funding, offer back-office services, and provide an operations model.  These organizations – Grameen Foundation, FINCA, Accion International, and World Vision, to name a few – partner with MFIs across the world to replicate the model, be it village banking, the Grameen model, or another.  These networks span countries and continents, and operate as umbrella organizations for the global microfinance community.

NWTF founder Cecilia del Castillo with Muhammad Yunus.

Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) is affiliated with Grameen Bank.  Its founder, president, and CEO, Dr. Cecilia del Castillo, received her doctorate in psychology in the United States before returning to the Philippines to create an NGO that would serve women in her native island of Negros Occidental.  A meeting with Muhammad Yunus convinced her to found NWTF in 1984, with the goal to “help women achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliance, particularly in Negros Occidental’s low-income and depressed urban and rural communities.” In 1989, NWTF introduced Project Dungganon (“honorable”) and Dungganon Bank Inc., NWTF’s traditional microcredit lending program, which most people associate with microfinance.  (In reality, microfinance describes a much larger suite of financial services, including savings accounts, insurance, and rural energy delivery, capital equipment assistance, and personal loans, but that is for another post).

An NWTF-sponsored medical mission.

An NWTF-sponsored medical mission.

The Grameen Bank Replication model uses a list of 10 Indicators, which determine the clientele of the bank, and 16 Decisions, to which the borrowers must strive to adhere.  NWTF has a slightly different approach than Grameen Bank, though the general framework is the same.  This is because poverty in Bangladesh does not look the same as poverty in the Philippines, so it must be tailored accordingly.  NWTF has a series of 11 decisions, and 10 principles, which I have reproduced in full below.  This comes from the NWTF Manual For 3-Day Compulsory Group Training.  It is from 2001 and has since been updated, but the principles have largely remained the same:

10 Principles of Project Dungganon

  1. Direct financial credit to the poor.
  2. Unique system of money lending.
  3. Formation of groups by the members themselves.
  4. Small repayment for all types of loans.
  5. Utilization of loans for income-generating projects.
  6. Close monitoring and supervision of members’ loans.
  7. Compulsory savings of money for the group fund.
  8. Business transactions are done in an open manner.
  9. Rigorous training and testing of potential borrowers.
  10. Rigorous and practical staff training.

11 Decisions of Project Dungganon

  1. I will not inflict any injustice to anyone; neither will I allow anyone to do so.
  2. I will plant vegetables all the year round. We will eat most of it and sell the surplus
  3. I will plan to keep my family small. We will minimize our expenditures and we will look after our health
  4. I will educate my children and ensure that I can earn to pay for their education
  5. I will always keep my household and environment clean
  6. I will build and use pit – latrines
  7. I will drink potable water. If it is not available I will boil water before drinking
  8. I will not live in a dilapidated house. I will repair my house and work towards constructing a new house at the earliest if necessary
  9. I will always be ready to help others
  10. I will live the four principles of Project Dungganon: Discipline, Unity, Courage and Hard Work
  11. I will plant as many trees as possible. I will not cut down any trees.

At the end of every center meeting, the clients of Project Dungganon and the loan officers must each recite a pledge, which sum up the commitments and the goals of NWTF.  They are reproduced below:

Member’s Pledge

It is my duty before God to strive for the betterment of my life. Whatever earnings maybe derived from my loan I will use the same for the betterment of my family. I will exert every effort toward the completion of the education of my children and the repayment of my loan through weekly installment. I will help any member who needs my assistance.

So help me God

Staff Pledge

I/We having been entrusted by God to help the poor improve their way of living through Project Dungganon, commit to do my work properly, honestly and in accordance with the rules and policies of Project Dungganon.

So help me God

One thought on “Grameen Bank Replication and the Principles of Microfinance

  1. Pingback: What Do I Think of Microfinance? Pt. 1 | Develop Economies

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