I am Mrs. Bolanle Ishola, the secretary of Temidire Union, Abeokuta 2 Branch, Elega, Abeokuta, Ogun State. I reside at Iberekodo Area of Abeokuta. I got to know about Grooming Centre around March 2010, when Grooming Centre came to Abeokuta. Before I obtained loans from Grooming Centre, I experienced financial constraints in running my provision business and was unable to replenish my stock regularly. The first loan I received from Grooming Centre was NGN20,000 and I am presently on the 5th [Small] loan stage (NGN70,000). I am also on the 3rd stage of the Festival loan (NGN50,000). The current profit from my business makes payment of children’s school fees easy. I have also been able to buy a piece of land on which I am currently erecting a house. The good thing about Grooming’s loans is that the repayment is well spread, making it easy to pay back. Also, the encouragement to save enables me to have personal savings for various needs. I am so grateful because my life and those of my family has changed for better since the day Grooming Centre came to Abeokuta.
I am Mrs. Omolara Oyewole, the leader of Ifesowapo Union in Ijoko branch, Ogun State. I sell baby products. My friend invited me to join Ifesowapo union in early 2010. Since I joined, I have had no cause to regret my action. The first loan I took was NGN20,000 and I am presently on the 5th stage. From the gains of my business, I have been able to sponsor my son through polytechnic education without owing anyone. Also, the shop I use presently was built from the proceeds of my business. Grooming Centre loans are very good compared to other microloans that I have tried before because of the simplicity in repaying them.
My Name is Mrs Adewale Olanike, member of Orelayo Union at Alpha Branch, Ede, Osun State. I sell raw food items. My husband is a civil servant with the Osun State Water Corporation. His salary could barely sustain our family needs. Before I joined Grooming, life was difficult – we could not eat three square meals, the children’s needs were not adequately met, their school uniforms were torn with several stitches and patches, and paying their school fees was a daunting task. My shop could best be described as empty; the little profit I made from sales went back to the people I purchased the goods from on credit. I knew where to get the goods on wholesale and make more profit but I lacked needed capital. A friend introduced me to Grooming Centre but I was reluctant because I had heard tales of some microfinance institutions absconding with people’s money. She encouraged me to give it a try, as she confided in me that she felt the same way when she wanted to join.
The following week I decided to visit the meeting place and observe. To my surprise, I met happy people. I realized that somehow I had subconsciously detached myself from the community. I could not remember the last time I was at a gathering of people. They told me the name of the group “Orelayo” which means “friendship is fun”. I joined that day. Now, I am presently on the fifth stage which is NGN70,000. I have also obtained the Festival loan. The repayment style is very encouraging and the extension of the Festival loan repayment period, from three months to four months, shows that the Centre listens to their members. My business has taken a new dimension as I now buy my goods directly from wholesalers. The era of my children wearing tattered uniforms to school has passed. Grooming Centre has put a new song in my mouth. Grooming is synonymous to PROSPERITY!!!
My Name is Mrs Odunola Busari, a member of Iderade Union, I sell clothes and shoes. I joined Grooming Centre in 2010. Before I joined, I was a full time house wife solely depending on my husband for money. Things were a bit rough and I knew I had to engage in something to complement my husband’s income. We acquired a shop with the hope of starting my own business but we had very little money. One day, a staff of Grooming Centre came to our area to tell us about how they empower women. I showed some interest and they promised to give us a loan after four weeks. A group was formed and we [women] named it Iderade. I was selected to become the Secretary of the group. I am happy not only because I am financially empowered, but that many women’s lives are being positively touched by Grooming Centre through our union. My business is on track and I have been able to fulfill my lifelong wish, which is to send my children to private schools as education is the best legacy I can give my children. I pray that God will continue to strengthen the Management and Staff of the Centre in their quest to eradicate poverty and promote better livelihood.
Grooming Centre joined a coalition of 16 partners including multilateral agencies, credit unions, banks, credit card companies, telecommunications companies and microfinance institutions by making commitments to reach 1 billion adults and achieve the World Bank Group’s Universal Financial Access objectives by 2020. This commitment was endorsed on behalf of the Centre by the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Godwin Nwabunka.
In the Centre’s commitment statement, the CEO stated:
“Grooming Centre is strongly committed to promoting financial inclusion in Ngeria, expanding its outreach, and positively impacting the lives of its clients, the economically active poor, who remain the focus of its operations. Grooming Centre believes that its collaboration with the World Bank Group under the Universal Financial Access initiative provides a unique opportunity to achieve this mission. The Centre has provided over 4 million loans to the excluded since its inception in 2006, and has set a target of reaching an additional 4 million credit clients by 2020.”
Worldwide, an estimated 2 billion working-age adults have no access to formal financial services delivered by regulated financial systems [Global Findex 2014].
In West Africa, only 35% of adults have a bank savings account that is not fully utilized due to the inefficiency of public banking and payment services (AfDB 2013).
Grooming Centre, in partnership with the World Bank Group (WBG), plans to bring safe access to transaction accounts and electronic instruments that store, send and receive payments for over 2 million unbanked individuals in Nigeria. The Centre’s commitment to the World Bank Universal Financial Access by 2020 initiative aims to the promote the positive experience of refined financial inclusion in Nigeria.
The UFA2020 envisions that adults worldwide — women and men alike — will be able to have access to a transaction account or an electronic instrument to store money, send payments and receive deposits as the basic building block to manage their financial lives.
The UFA2020 initiative is focusing on 25 countries where 73% of all financially excluded people live. These countries include Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Vietnam, Tanzania, Turkey, and Zambia.
Visit the World Bank Group’s financial inclusion page here
Mr. Enyinnah (Right) was elected during the General Assembly of the Association held at the King Fahd Presidential Hotel, Senegal from the 29th of June to 3rd July 2015. The General Assembly along with the African Microfinance Week (AMW) was sponsored by the Government of Senegal, the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, African Development Bank and a handful of notable stakeholders including Citi Foundation, United Nations Capital Development Fund, European Investment Bank, Proparco and Ecobank.
According to Mr. Enyinnah, his appointment is significant because this is the first time a Nigerian is elected to such an exalted position which has largely been dominated by Franco-phone countries based on their earlier involvement in the microfinance renascence movement.
Mr. Enyinnah stressed that his appointment will further encourage the large pool of Microfinance Banks and Institutions in Nigeria to join the AMTwhich has become the flag ship institution for the promotion of best practice and knowledge in Africa on microfinance. It will further link them to international networks, funding vehicles, rating standards and technical resources.
Created in 2003, the African Microfinance Transparency Forum (AMT) with over 60 foremost Microfinance Banks and Institutions in Africa as members is a nonprofit organization. Its objective is to promote transparency and efficiency among African MFIs by encouraging and preparing them for external performance evaluations(ratings).
The organization is dedicated to bringing together key players in the industry to discuss the future of microfinance, the financing of microfinance institutions and partnerships between regional and continental networks. The AMT’s main ambition is to become the major African organization for microfinance professionals where members can exchange ideas, reflect on the challenges facing the industry, promote and accelerate financial inclusion and economic growth on the continent.
The African Microfinance Week (an annual event of the AMT, AFMIN, AFRACA and MAIN) brings together stakeholders in Africa and the world over to share their experience on the core emerging issues in the industry.
The theme for 2015 AMW is “Accelerating Innovative Rural Finance in Africa” and the event brought together a total of 363 delegates representing practitioners, funding vehicles, major networks, rating agencies, technology and innovation providers and multilateral agencies. Only 4 Microfinance Institutions, the Central Bank of Nigeria and Ecobank attended from Nigeria.
The 2017 Edition of the Grooming Splash held on Saturday March 17th 2018 at the Grooming Centre Multipurpose Event Hall. The Splash event also featured the second edition of the Lady Kate Okafor Scholarship Scheme awards, tagged LKOSS II.
Highlights of the event include the presentation of scholarship awards to winners of the LKOSS II, the raffle draw selection and the presentation of prizes to winning clients. Popular screen comedian, Papa Ajasco, constantly entertained invited guests, clients and staff throughout the event. The star prize of brand new motor tricycles and other prizes like deep freezers, big and small refrigerators, and 2.5kVa & 5kVa power-generating sets were won by clients whose tickets were drawn from the live raffle draws.
Clients who won were contacted immediately via telephone and informed about the prizes they would receive. Some clients could not contain their excitement and came to claim their prizes in person. They thanked the Centre for its support and generosity and encouraged other clients to patronize Grooming Centre’s products and services.
Mrs. Isoken Nwabunka, while handing over the keys of the star prize to a winner Mrs. Bola Agoro, assured clients of the Centre’s unflinching mandate to positively impact their lives, households and businesses with assets that boost their productivity and give life more meaning.
The 2016 Grooming Splash held at the Grooming Centre Multipurpose Event Hall on Saturday March 11th 2017. The Splash featured the introduction of the Lady Kate Okafor Scholarship Scheme awards.
Highlights of the event include the inauguration of the Lady Kate Okafor Scholarship Scheme, the raffle draw selection and the presentation of prizes to winning clients. The star prize of brand new motor tricycles, as well as large deep freezers and 2.5kVa – 5kVa power-generating sets were unveiled.
Clients who won were contacted live via telephone and informed about the prizes they would receive. Some of the clients came to claim their prizes in person. They expressed gratitude to the Centre and dedicated unflinching loyalty to patronize its services toward the growth of their businesses and households.
Speaking during the prize presentation, Dr. Godwin Nwabunka reiterated the resolve of the Centre to positively impact the lives of its clients by empowering them with assets that improve quality of life and provide additional income for their businesses.
Thursday, September 28th, 2017 witnessed the celebration of Grooming Centre and Fortis Microfinance Bank as the pioneer CPP-certified microfinance service providers in Nigeria. In February 2016, Grooming Centre was confirmed the first microfinance institution in Nigeria and Africa to be certified as fully Client Protection Principles [CPP] compliant. Fortis Microfinance Bank was confirmed CPP compliant in March 2016. The ceremony, themed Keeping Clients First in Financial Inclusion, was held at The George Hotel in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria.
The ceremony was hosted by the Smart Campaign represented by Isabelle Barrès, Vice President Centre for Financial Inclusion [CFI] and Director of the Smart Campaign, and Boubacar Diallo, Senior Africa Advisor. Highlights of the event included panel discussions on the State of Consumer Protection in Financial Inclusion, presentations on the State of Financial Consumer Protection Regulation and Practice, discussions on experiences about the Smart Campaign Client Protection Certification led by Dr. Godwin Nwabunka CEO, Grooming Centre and Tiko Okoye CEO, Fortis MFB and the grand finale – the Certification Award Ceremony.
Notable speakers during the discussions included Augustine Nwoke, CEO HASAL MFB and President, National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Godbless Safugha, Executive Secretary, Association of Non-Bank Microfinance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN), Dr. Olayinka David-West, Governing Council Member of the FinTech Association of Nigeria (FTAN) and Dr. Professor Felicia Monye, President, Consumer Awareness Organization (CAO). The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was represented by the Head of Consumer Protection Department, Umma Dutse.
In her closing remarks, Camille Haubert of MicroRate, a foremost international rating agency, congratulated Grooming Centre and Fortis MFB for achieving the coveted recognition and praised both institutions for their dedication and drive for distinction in client protection. She placed particular emphasis on “the remarkable commitment and transparency displayed by Grooming Centre throughout the pre-certification exercise”, citing the Centre as a client protection model for other institutions to emulate.
Watch our journey to certification here courtesy of Smart Campaign
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