Africa Microfinance Growth Centre Launch

April 14, 2009 Posted by Press Release

Unitus Announces Groundbreaking Leadership Development Program for CEOs of Early-Stage Microfinance Institutions in East Africa

Innovative program will increase access to life-changing financial services for low-income families in rural Africa

Seattle, WA, April 14, 2009 — Unitus, Inc., an international nonprofit dedicated to reducing global poverty by accelerating access to microfinance, is deepening its commitment to East Africa by opening the Africa Microfinance Growth Centre, the first leadership development program of its kind for early-stage microfinance providers in East Africa. The program, developed in partnership with Financial Sector Deepening (FSD), will graduate CEOs and senior managers with improved strategy, leadership, and execution ability needed to rapidly grow their organizations and expand financial services to families living on less than $2 a day.

“We plan to use our expertise successfully scaling MFIs in other areas of the world and apply a similar model in East Africa where microfinance is desperately needed but is struggling to grow,” said Ed Bland, President of Unitus. “The Growth Centre will help CEOs develop leadership skills, organizational strategy, and functional expertise in a dynamic, peer-to-peer learning environment. Ultimately, this will empower CEOs to lead their MFIs toward faster growth and greater impact on low-income families.”

The program spans 18 months and incorporates intensive workshops, trainings, and peer-to-peer networking opportunities. Participants will complete the program with a strategic plan for their organization; training in functional business topics needed for day-to-day management; and strengthened leadership skills. Sessions will be held in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Space is limited, and participants will be selected through an intensive application and interview process.

Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) is providing strategic and financial support in launching the Growth Centre. Additional financial support is being provided by Omidyar Network, The Boeing Company, and SV2: Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund. Prospective applicants should visit the Africa Microfinance Growth Centre for more information and an application.

About Unitus
Unitus, an international nonprofit organization, fights global poverty by accelerating the growth of microfinance—small loans and other financial tools for self-empowerment—where it is needed most. Unitus partners with young, high-potential microfinance institutions, helping them build capacity, attract capital, and unite with the greater partner network to achieve rapid, sustainable growth. In just seven years, Unitus has helped its partners serve more than 7 million families throughout India and Southeast Asia, East Africa, Mexico, and South America.

Unitus received Fast Company’s Social Capitalist award in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Unitus is a 501(c)3 with offices in Seattle, Washington, Bangalore, India and Nairobi, Kenya.

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