The World Bank’s International Development Association, working through the Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan, had started a program that targets Afghanistan’s ultra-poor, those unable to meet basic needs for food, shelter, and medical care. Called the TUP Project, for ‘The Ultra Poor’, the financial inclusion program offers a combination of services over three years that are designed to move families from safety net services into income earning ventures. The program is based around caring for livestock.
Each participant family receives livestock, usually a cow. They receive both practical and classroom education on how to care for livestock, how to meet hygiene requirements, and how to find and develop markets. The family is provided basic health care by community health workers and they receive a subsistence stipend short-term as income support.
The program began in 2015, and to date has provided support and assistance to 6,725 families. The program aims to enrol 7,500 families by program end at the end of 2017.
MISFA, the Microfinance Support Facility for Afghanistan, is developing a number of sustainable programs to support economic growth. They do this by providing financial services to small and medium enterprises and microfinance programs, including development safety-net programs such as the TUP Project. They report 103.5% operational self-sufficiency, with 32% of their microfinance loans to women borrowers. As part of the SME program, they offer supporting loans to small and medium businesses. A critical part of the sustainability of their programs is to provide training and capacity building activities to partner financial institutions for both development, microfinance, and SME economic activity programs.
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