Expected to benefit approximately two million individuals, the Uganda Program will leverage BRAC's holistic microfinance approach to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods in the region. Dubbed "microfinance multiplied," the approach is designed to increase the ability of poor clients to use their loans productively in order to augment their incomes and build their assets, while also stimulating economic and social development within their communities. Insights generated from the program will enable BRAC to accelerate its long-term plan to adapt the approach to other African countries. BRAC also will explore the feasibility of becoming a regulated deposit-taking institution in Uganda, a role it has yet to play in Africa.
More than 37 percent of Uganda's population live on less than a dollar a day and 62 percent do not have access to financial services, with women and girls among the most negatively affected by persistent poverty. The program will provide economically active women with loans, training, and technical support to enable them to improve their livelihoods and will also aim to expand vocational and life-skills education for adolescent girls.
"This initiative with the MasterCard Foundation will be our largest program in Africa," said Fazle Abed, founder and chairman of BRAC. "What we learn in Uganda, including how to provide savings to poor women and their communities, will help us rapidly scale up our operations to provide services to millions of people throughout Africa."