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German Sparkassenstiftung Eastern Africa (DSIK) is currently working in five project countries, namely Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. In order to provide the best support for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs), their clients and umbrella organizations, DSIK employs experienced, committed, and ambitious national and international staff. Currently, experts from seven nations work for DSIK in Eastern Africa.
DSIK supports the development of rural areas. Therefore, we offer advisory services to strengthen MFIs and SACCOs in Eastern Africa:
We develops concepts for financial products and shared services and support MFIs/SACCOs and umbrella organisations in the implementation;
We conduct needs assessments and feasibility studies e.g. on the establishment of a refinancing fund for the microfinance sector in Eastern Africa;
We organize conferences and meetings to exchange knowledge and experiences within the whole region;
We offer workshops for MFIs/ SACCOs to comply with current and new regulations;
We conducts needs analysis and accompany the introduction of IT-systems and e.g. reporting or management information software.
Another important field of work is the sustainable development of our partnering meso-level institutions. Together we pursue to make umbrella organizations technically and economically more sustainable.
German Sparkassenstiftung Eastern Africa (DSIK) in Burundi has been in a partnership with RIM (Réseau des Institutions de Microfinance), the umbrella organization of the microfinance institutions in Burundi, since 2012.
Conjoint Strategic Planning
The strategic consulting of the partner has been a core area of the cooperation since its beginning. Together at least once a year the current situation and changes in the microfinance sector in Burundi are assessed. This includes having a close look at the tendencies in the local financial market, the situation of the microfinance institutions and their clients, the economic situation and the anticipated and planned development of the country as well as the regulatory framework, especially in regards to the Banque de la République du Burundi, the Burundian central bank.
Guidance and Consultancy on Strategic Issues
Based on the results an annual strategic plan is developed. It usually focuses on the two pillars of collaboration, which are institutional strengthening and financial education. Financial education activities for selected target groups of the population such as primary and secondary students, farmers, or women entrepreneurs etc. are planned on the basis of a needs analysis considering the broader economic and societal context as well as the requirements of the microfinance institutions.
The institutional strengthening on the other hand supports the development of the greater microfinance sector in the country concentrating for example on the further professionalization of RIM or the training program for the management and staff of microfinance institutions. To this end in discussions with RIM and the microfinance institutions strategic issues are being identified and concrete and detailed plans for their operationalization put in place.
Partner with Extensive Expertise
DSIK with its strong ties to the German Savings Banks Group with its long history and expertise in the banking sector and its deep know-how in financial education is an ideal partner to provide guidance and strategic consultancy to RIM and its member institutions. This has been reflected in the many positive results that the cooperation has achieved so far.
German Sparkassenstiftung Eastern Africa (DSIK) is supporting the microfinance sector through our partners Association of Microfinance Institutions in Kenya (AMFI-K) and the African Confederation of Co-operative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) to assist them in developing and reviewing their strategic plans. Strategic plans provide the roadmap to align the organization's functional activities to achieve set goals. They guide management discussions and decision making in determining resource and budget requirements to accomplish set objectives and thus increasing operational efficiency.
Since 2009, German Sparkassenstiftung Eastern Africa (DSIK) has been permanently active in partnership projects in Rwanda focusing on institutional strengthening. DSIK considers the strategic planning of an organisation as one of the most fundamental components and one of the first steps in institutional strengthening. We support our local partner organisations, the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR), the National Cooperatives Confederation of Rwanda (NCCR) and the Rwandan Institute of Cooperatives, Enterpreneurship and Microfinance (RICEM), with methodological approaches that facilitate the strategic planning process.
By organizing and facilitating stakeholder and member workshops right at the beginning of the process, we ensure the involvement of key players and receive direct unfiltered feedback. This is of enormous importance for the later development of the strategic direction. The identification and consideration of the most recent documents (policies, laws, guidelines, and framework conditions) but also of numerical data by national statistical authorities is an important element of our desk research. Both activities set the foundation for an individual status quo analysis, which includes an analysis of external (e.g. market analysis) as well as internal conditions (SWOT analysis).
Based on these framework conditions we develop together with our partners AMIR, RICEM, and NCCR suitable and sustainable business models, which include services that can be demanded by the beneficiaries and can be priced.
Together with RICEM, we are working on increasing the visibility of their training offers by expanding various communication channels, especially in the digital area. Therefore, we are supporting the establishment of a new website and an integrated e-learning platform. This platform could be a new opportunity to to offer online trainings. In addition, there are also efforts to advise and support partners in the establishment of different social media channels. A further long-term goal is to support RICEM in close cooperation with local authorities in order to offer accredited trainings. This would lead to a unique selling proposition, as no other vocational institution in the microfinance sector in Rwanda provides something alike.
German Sparkassenstiftung Eastern Africa (DSIK) in Uganda has strategically supported the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) and the Uganda Cooperative Savings and Credit Union Limited (UCSCU) in the development of strategic and business plan for the Dual Apprenticeship System, Training Academy and Human Resource Review respectively. The strategic business plan clarifies the implementation modalities, organizational requirements, the curriculum, the training plan and the financial forecasts while the Human Resource Review was to guide UCSCU in the restructuring of its human resource.
Thus, AMFIU now has a functional and operational business arm known as AMFIU Business Consult (ABC). The business arm is to enhance professionalism in the execution of Microfinance Institution (MFI) activities while providing services at relatively low cost.
German Sparkassenstiftung Eastern Africa (DSIK) in Tanzania is supporting the Savings and Credit Co-Operative Union League of Tanzania (SCCULT), the Tanzania Cooperative Development Commission (TCDC), the Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI) and the SELF Microfinance Fund (SELF MF) by providing strategic advisory services through institutional strengthening of partner organizations as one of the core topics of DSIK’s work. DSIK in Tanzania is providing strategic advisory services,needs-based trainings for management, etc. and contributes to the revision of partner’s strategic plans and business plans. This has consistently improved the partners’ structure and operations and ensures their sustainability in Tanzania.
A big achievement was SELF MF’s transition from a development project into a business-oriented organisation and later the merger with UTT Microfinance. The merger has officially been concluded and cultures in sync.