Kashf Foundation – empowering women
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