MAP Village Banks
The Micro-Aid Program (MAP) is a user-owned and user-managed micro-finance programme of the village banking model being implemented by Community Aid International in Bondo District in Western Kenya. The programme was started in 2002 and its primary target has been members of the rural community who are outside the mainstream commercial banking.
MAP is on a mission “to work with underserved, marginalized and disadvantaged community members and help build their capacity and enhance their access to affordable financial services and credit for socio-economic development of their households and that of their larger community.” The Vision for MAP is ‘to be the most effective and vibrant vehicle for poverty reduction and a catalyst for socio-economic development.’
Currently, the programme has five Financial Services Association (FSAs) which are also known informally as “village banks” with over 5000 share holders. In this modified model, all the village banks are clustered under one governance structure with one Board of Directors, and each is run by a Financial Services Officer. MAP provides the marginalized community groups with a simple mechanism that allows them to save and administer their own funds securely and efficiently, according to their own needs and priorities. MAP provides a variety of financial products and services which include:
- Shares – A requirement for membership and unit of ownership in the village banks, holding shares enables the holder to access MAP products and services.
- Loans – MAP provides individual loan products with flexible repayment periods and low interest rates that suit the needs of the poor.
- Savings Account – Each shareholder is entitled to this product.
- Safe-keeping of important documents such as title deed or school/college certificates.
Unlike other micro-finance institutions that are owned by a few share holders as private companies and deal with the general public purely for profit, MAP is designed to mobilize the target community and help them build their capacity for socio-economic development. It targets the poor in the community who cannot afford or access commercial banking services due to exorbitant charges. The experience has been that even the better-off community members turn to MAP for its different dimensions of accessibility.