Minister of Italy Giuliano Amato, personally congratulated
project director Ms Jannat Quanine on the success of the Kosovo
Grameen Missione Arcobaleno Microcredit Fund (KGMAMF)
at a seminar in Milan, held on April 2001, organized by Missione
Arcobaleno and the University of Milan. The Prime
Minister was the chief guest at the seminar at which Ms Quanine
presented a report on the experience with the special microcredit
program that is being implemented by Grameen Trust
the end of the first year of operation, the KGMAMF has demonstrated
that microcredit can be an important tool to rebuild the economy
in a war-affected region. The project which began in June
2000 has disbursed approximately US$ 656,000 to 1224 women
in 46 villages of Kosovo. Not a single default has been reported.
It has helped significantly in the rehabilitation of the families
severely affected by the recent war in Kosovo.
Director Jannat further writes: 'When we began, we were told
that we would not be able to do microcredit in Kosovo, that
women here don't do business, that robberies are a common
occurrence, that population density is low
. After one
year however, we have successfully reached 1224 borrowers
from families in distress and more and more families are coming
to us to take loans". Purchase of a milch cow --- like
in Bangladesh and microcredit programmes in many other countries
--- is the most popular activity for members, as milk is considered
an essential food item in Kosovo. Many members purchase sewing
machines, others set up grocery shops. Whatever the activity,
members are very keen to take follow up loans, as these help
to raise their family income.
is operating through two branches in Pristina, in central
Kosovo, and Peje, in the western region. Project Director
and three other staff who were seconded from Grameen, began
working in June 2000 and recruited all other staff locally.
After one year, the local staff have demonstrated their capacity
to work independently. Quite fortunately, continuing political
uncertainty in the region has not affected the steady progress
of the project and the economic activities of the members
in a major way.
June 2001, two more branch managers from Bangladesh arrived
in Kosovo to set up new branch offices in Gjilan and Prizren
regions. Premises for the two branches have already been rented
and activities are expected to begin shortly. The project
plans to expand quickly in the summer as all activities inevitably
slow down in the harsh Balkan winter. With the new branches,
the project will cover four of the five regions of Kosovo.