Three more years to come for RFL3, implementers are on a promising pace
The SEEP Network in collaboration with the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Rwanda (AMIR) and the MasterCard Foundation, are implementing Responsible Finance through Local Leadership and Learning Program (RFL3). The program’s goal is to scale the application of consumer protection principles for low income financial service customers as well as promoting an enabling environment by facilitating collaboration amongst a wide range of private and public sector stakeholders.
RFL3, 13 months now after its official launch in Kigali last year, there are a lot of achievements that have been recorded so far. Expert revealed. According to Mr. Straton Habyalimana the Senior Programs Manager of this project in Rwanda, the progress status of the implementation of RFL3 is promising.
(1) the Client Protection Principles (CPP) awareness among AMIR members – sector stakeholders – sector regulators: Central Bank, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Rwanda Cooperative Agency, Office of Ombudsman – Access to Finance Forums – Civil Society Organizations.
(2) Market involvement: the media was identified as the potential partner in campaigning for the protection of consumer rights across the country. AMIR conducted journalists training on Consumer Protection and Education: 24 journalists from printing, online, radio and TV media houses attended the training course. These journalists are playing key role in spreading and imparting CPP messages and advocating for clients; typically there is a story every week on Consumer Protection.
(3) Assessment of Microfinance institutions vis-à-vis compliance with CPP: though the target was five institutions, AMIR managed to assess 11 microfinance institutions within only ten months. The ultimate goal of these assessments is primarily about identifying CPP gaps and subsequently assisting the institutions in closing the identified gaps by establishing related strategies.
(4) Peer learning sessions: AMIR members and partners conducted a study tour in India. This country had been identified as an exemplary country in preserving consumer rights in the microfinance sector. The trip was meant to help mainly partners to better understand the concept of consumer protection, through learning from best practices of advanced Microfinances. On the other hand the trip’s experience is sought to help AMIR members to be used to Code of Conduct: its compliance and execution.
(5) More than 200 staff members of Microfinance institutions have been equipped with knowledge about CPP.
(6) AMIR has established strong partnership with Access to Finance Forums in three districts for effective application of the CPP. Four more districts have expressed their will to partner and join AMIR in the crusade to preserve consumer rights.