Kashf Foun­da­tion – em­pow­er­ing women

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suc­cess­ful years of op­er­a­tion, there is no stop­ping for this mi­cro-lend­ing en­ter­prise. Kashf now aims to:

• Im­prove ac­cess and scale of mi­cro­fi­nance ser­vices by demon­strat­ing that women in Pak­istan are cred­i­ble and can served as ac­tive eco­nomic agents by reach­ing out to a large seg­ment of the fe­male pop­u­la­tion

• Con­tinue to in­no­vate by cre­at­ing cus­tomer-driven prod­ucts and

Kashf Foun­da­tion is work­ing in Pak­istan to em­power poor women and their fam­i­lies to be­come eco­nom­i­cally self-re­liant by pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices in a sus­tain­able man­ner. It pro­vides mi­cro­fi­nance to low-in­come house­holds, es­pe­cially women, in or­der to en­hance their eco­nomic role and pro­mote en­trepreneur­ship on the mi­cro level.

The idea for es­tab­lish­ing the Kashf Foun­da­tion was born when Roshaneh Zafar, met Pro­fes­sor Muham­mad Yunus of the Grameen Bank at a chance meet­ing in 1993. Af­ter spend­ing two years in un­der­stand­ing the mar­ket and themi­cro­fi­nance needs of peo­ple in peri-ur­ban and ur­ban set­tings, Roshaneh Zafar started Kashf as an ac­tion re­search pro­gramme in 1996. This phase was fol­lowed by a more fo­cused ap­proach to man­ag­ing growth from 1999 to 2001.

The main fo­cus in this pe­riod was to make the branch struc­ture more lean and efficient; an as­pect which was crit­i­cal for en­sur­ing the long term vi­a­bil­ity of the pro­gramme, along with set­ting up a cash flow model which would en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of a branch within a set pe­riod. By early 2001 Kashf had a net­work of five branches in La­hore and a client base of 5,088 cus­tomers lo­cated in 214 cen­ters.

From 2001to 2004 the main strat­egy was to en­hance outreach and deepen prod­uct of­fer­ings through cost-ef­fec­tive and sus­tain­able branches. Dur­ing this phase, Kashf con­tin­ued to en­ter new mar­kets and man­age dis­persed units. By the end of 2004, the Foun­da­tion was pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices to over 68,000 cus­tomers through a net­work of 30 branches.

To­day, the suc­cess sto­ries of its fe­male cus­tomers tell us that Kashf stood true to its mean­ing of ‘mir­a­cle’ or a ‘rev­e­la­tion’ for those it touched. As one cus­tomer, Ir­shaad Baji puts it, “It is ow­ing to Kashf’s help that I was able to over­come my dif­fi­cul­ties, other­wise we would have prob­a­bly starved. Now we eat what we like and we all eat well. Now, my neigh­bours are the ones who ask me for as­sis­tance and I am the one who is giv­ing in­stead of tak­ing; they all won­der and ask me about our pros­per­ity and suc­cess and I ad­vise them to do the same - take a loan and in­vest it in a busi­ness that they would be will­ing to work hard at, be­cause hard work is the only way for­ward.”

Af­ter four­teen ser­vices for low in­come house­holds, in­clud­ing home im­prove­ment loans and a health in­surance prod­uct

• Strengthen cus­tomer care pro­cesses by em­pow­er­ing field staff to lis­ten to their feed­back on a con­tin­u­ous ba­sis

• Sus­tain its fi­nan­cially vi­able busi­ness model of pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices to the poor and main­stream it with other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to en­sure scal­a­bil­ity

Founder Pres­i­dent, Roshaneh Zafar

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