A few years ago, following my visit to Grameen Bank, and with the help of Susan Gibson, we launched a pilot group based lending and savings program in Lebanon, through the Save the Children --USA. The country, having just emerged from a long and destructive war, was in dire need of a financial change. Lebanon known across the world as the Switzerland of the Middle East due to the development of its banking sector, had gravely ignored the large majority of its population, who did not have access to financial services.
Our group based lending and savings program offers unsubsidized loans to low income women micro-entrepreneurs. The program was, and remains the only such program in Lebanon, with other institutions choosing to ignore lessons learned through successes such as Grameen, and offering large subsidized loans largely to men.
Our program called Al Majmoua (the Group in Arabic) has achieved success, with over 14,000 loans disbursed over 3 years, and 3,000 active loans at present. This has encouraged us to establish a specialized institution Al Majmoua to deliver sustained financial services to micro-entrepreneurs Lebanon.
Al Majmoua began its operations in January 1998, and will be launched to the general public in Lebanon in June of this year.
Al Majmoua--Together We Grow
P.O. BOX: 11.3483