The project now employs 48 staff, six staff with strong field experience having been seconded from Grameen Bank Bangladesh, to run the operations of the projects. The activities of five branches of the microcredit program are coordinated by a zonal manager, who is also the chief executive of the project. The remaining 42 field staff have been recruited and trained locally.
The average size of loans taken by borrowers in the first cycle is around US$ 25. This has ensured that the poorest are participating in the program. It is hoped that borrowers’ capacity to take progressively larger loans will enable the project to attain viability. In addition to loan activities, borrowers deposit weekly savings. To date they e have mobilized more than US$ 2500.
The activities for which loans have been used range from poultry and pig raising, selling prawns, vegetables and snacks, purchasing fishing nets, duck food, rowing boats, sewing machines and for grocery shops. The staff report that loans are utilized properly and the rate of repayment to date has held up at 100 percent.
One problem faced by the project is that staff have to travel by boat to center meetings which is both time consuming and difficult. Some temporary absences from center meetings have been caused due to seasonal fever and seasonal migration when women become busy with paddy transplantation. The staff were anticipating the effects on the program of heavy rain during the rainy season in July and August, but so far there has been only moderate rainfall.
All measures are being taken to ensure that high quality of management
and operational practices are maintained. The project staff are confident
that the target of poor families will be reached to make a significant
impact on the conditions of the poor in the Delta Zone of Myanmar. It is
hoped that the success of this project will lead to an expansion of microcredit
for the poor in Myanmar.