SRSG visits Kosovo Grameen Project

Mr. Michael Steiner, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of United Nations and the Head of United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) visited Livoq-up village under Gjilan branch of Kosovo Grameen Missione Arcobaleno Microcredit Fund (KGMAMF) on 23 June, 2003 to see for himself the work and impact of the project. He was highly impressed by the performance of the project and by the changes it has brought in the well-being and attitude of its clientele who lost everything during the 1999 Kosovo war.

Mr. Steiner’s visit was an appreciation of the KGMAMF operation. It was also a source of joy and inspiration for the staff of KGMAMF who started implementing the project in June 2000 under the “Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT)” program of Grameen Trust (GT) in the face of many challenges. At the time the country was suffering from utter devastation and despair. The law and order conditions were unstable and unpredictable. There were no financial discipline or institutions. The project met the challenges with courage, confidence and perseverance creating the foundation for growth.

KGMAMF has now reached about 5000 poorest women, all of whom were affected by conflict. Its cumulative loan disbursement is more than US$ 7million. It is enjoying 100% repayment rate, with no portfolio at risk. All these have been possible due to the strong commitment and dedicated work of the GT staff who motivated the war-affected women to recreate their lives by regaining their confidence, enjoying financial services from the project and striving for a dignified and prosperous life.

Although the women were hesitant in earlier stages about their capacity and investment plan, they gradually started experiencing the power of micro-credit and enjoying its benefits.

The project is now passing through a phase of consolidation and transition. It has still to meet the challenges of institutionalisation and sustainable operation. GT has already started the process by preparing the business plan for the next phase of the project. It has shared its progress and plan with UNMIK authorities, Bankers and Payments Authority of Kosovo, MEB, Advisory Group and donors. All have applauded the work of KGMAMF and given the assurance of their continued cooperation.

GT has raised the issue of future funding with the donors and discussed with UNMIK the possibility of raising capital or insurance fund for the project. It hopes that with the support from UNMIK and cooperation of all concerned, the project will be institutionalised to continuously serve the poorest women in Kosovo on a sustainable basis. The poorest women are determined to change their quality of life. They have a great demand for project services. GT is committed to meet their demand and help them to overcome their poverty.

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