Kashf Microfinance website – http://www.kashf.org/
Kashf foundation target of propaganda campaign: MD
Sunday, December 07, 2008
By By Atif Nadeem
THE Kashf Foundation managing director has said that some ‘hidden elements’ have launched a propaganda campaign at the behest of a few political workers in a bid to damage the foundation’s reputation and disrupt its activities in certain areas.
The Kashf Foundation initiated its micro-finance programme in 1996 based on the acclaimed Grameen methodology created by Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Younus.
Talking to The News on Saturday, Roshaneh Zafar rejected allegations of coercion and threats being levelled against foundation employees during recovery of loans in certain areas.
She said that some hidden elements had persuaded some of their clients to protest against employees of the foundation. She said the clients were claiming that the foundation had waived off loans as they possessed fictitious loan write-off letters distributed to them by some political workers.
She said the foundation had not issued any letter regarding waiver of loans and all the letters were fake and were being circulated to disrupt the foundation’s work in certain areas. She said that Kashf employees were being threatened and browbeaten by some hidden elements in Gujrat at the time of collection of loans from clients. She said some local government representatives and political workers were doing this in a bid to harm the foundation’s reputation. She said that employees of the foundation had to face such a situation in Muridke, Gujranwala and adjacent areas.
She said that representatives of the foundation held a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to brief him on the situation.
She said that some political workers and local councillors in these areas were handing letters to clients and instigating them to stop payment of loans. She said the clients had bought letters for Rs 500 each, reading that the foundation had waived off their loans and its employees should not be given any payment in this regard. She said that political workers had earned millions of rupees through sale of these letters and also defamed the foundation.
She said the foundation had compelled these people not to disrupt its functions through intervention of some political figures. She said that protest demonstrations were being led by some unknown women at the behest of political workers.
She said that distribution of fictitious letters was a conspiracy aimed at harming the reputation of the foundation across the country.
She said that it seemed that local money lenders were creating problems for the foundation. She denied any threats being hurled at clients during recovery of loans, saying the foundation’s social contract entails that non-abusive process will be adopted to recover loans from clients with the cooperation of community. She said it was possible that some political workers were provoking clients to establish their clout.
She referred to the social contract signed between the foundation and clients which clearly states terms and conditions of the loan based on complete transparency, non-abusive recovery process of loans and customer satisfaction envisioning long-term understanding and partnership between clients and the foundation.
She said the foundation was a pioneer in its field and had demonstrated that women from low income communities were not only credible but could also be active economic agents to help their families escape poverty trap.
Repeated access to small loans has helped build up the confidence of thousands of women and their families and has restored their dignity and pride, she said.
She said that Kashf’s mission was to alleviate poverty, restore pride of poor communities through sustainable economic opportunities, focusing on women empowerment besides providing quality and cost-effective micro-finance services to low-income households.
“In the growing economic crisis in Pakistan, it is organisations such as Kashf Foundation that provides a sustainable choice to low income households to manage their financial vulnerabilities. Keeping in view its past successes, the foundation has planned to rapidly expand its network and outreach in 2009 to reach out to 550,000 poor families across the country particularly the poor districts of Punjab such as Liyyah, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan and continue to serve 325,000 clients every day, focusing on long-term relationship with them,” she said.
“Kashf is one of the leading microfinance institutions in Pakistan registered under the Companies Ordinance and has helped hundreds of thousands of families across Pakistan get out of poverty trap,” she said.
She said the Kashf Foundation was one of the first NGOs to run a micro-credit programme to obtain loans from commercial banks in 2007 and it has been rated BBB+ (Investment rate) by JCRVIS.