Press Release

MicroRate's Top Rated MFIs 2021

Grooming Centre Ranked Among the Best

Lagos, Nigeria – Grooming People for Better livelihood Centre (Grooming Centre) has been ranked among the highest rated Microfinanace Institutions globally by MicroRate, the foremost international rating agency. Announcing this, MicroRate stressed that “after a year full of challenges for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), we want to publicly recognize in presence of the various actors of the Microfinance Sector, those MFIs rated by MicroRate that had superior financial, social, and institutional performances even in the face of an adverse context in the localities where they operate without losing focus on their mission towards financial inclusion”.


 Grooming Centre achieved excellence in both Institutional Performance and Social Performance, rated a- and ranking among the ten top institutions globally in Institutional performance (which gauged Governance and  Management,  Organization, Credit Operations, Portfolio quality, and  Financial Profile), and rated four stars out of five stars in Social Performance (which examined the Depth and Adequacy of services,  Responsible Finance,  Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Commitment).  A virtual award ceremony was held on Thursday, November 18, 2021 to officially present the list of institutions that made remarkable efforts in demonstrating the possibility of a financial-social balance.


“Sustaining this milestone in two successions is a significant step for Grooming Centre as it continues to drive for excellence in empowering the poor at the bottom of the pyramid by scaling up its financial and non-financial products and services, particularly in these unprecedented times with the Covid-19 pandemic having a profound effect on the lives of millions of people across the country. Additionally, it creates more opportunities and partnerships which strengthens our commitment to promoting financial inclusion and expanding choices for the excluded at the base of economic pyramid.” says Godwin Nwabunka, CEO, Grooming Centre.


About Grooming Centre

Grooming Centre, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), was founded in 2006 to address the near absence of financial services to the large population of economically active low-income earners engaged in small trading and micro productive activities in many parts of Nigeria. The Centre has done over 11 million credits since inception and is presently providing financial and non-financial services to over 700,000 members through a network of 603 branches across 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.  The Centre is a member of the World Bank Group Universal Financial Access (UFA 2020) initiative.


Grooming Centre and Sesor renew partnership support.

L-R: Chikezie Egbulefu, Head, Special Project, Grooming Centre; Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, Co-founder, SESOR Empowerment Foundation; Dr. Godwin Nwabunka, CEO, Grooming Centre; Nkanu Egbe, Trustee, SESOR Empowerment Foundation, at the MOU signing ceremony.

Friday, February 28, 2020 – Grooming People for Better Livelihood Centre renewed its partnership support to Sesor Empowerment Foundation (Sesor) by donating ₦10.6 million towards the continuing work of Sesor’s Safe Day Space initiative, as well as the rehabilitation, empowerment and reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Lagos and Benue States.



As part of the MOU signing ceremony which took place at the Grooming Centre, Head Office, Ejigbo, Lagos, a cheque donation of N10,662,500.00 was handed over to Sesor Empowerment Foundation by Grooming Centre to support the foundation in its work with IDPs. This partnership, now in its 6th year is focused on the significant efforts by SESOR Empowerment Foundation in providing nutritional & psychological support, financial independence, educational support, housing support as well as recreational facilities for IDPs and their families.

Speaking at the signing, which held at Grooming Centre’s Head Office, the Co – founder of Sesor Empowerment Foundation, Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, expressed her appreciation for the invaluable partnership and support the Centre has provided, through the years, in creating more awareness of the situation of displaced women and children in Nigeria.

While signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the CEO of Grooming Centre, Dr. Godwin Nwabunka expressed his gratitude for the impact made by Sesor Foundation in the lives of hundreds of internally displaced women and children through the years, and reiterated the Centre’s commitment to this cause and the general work of empowerment.


Support to Sesor to Aid Rehab of Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria

Sesor is an NGO working to support survivors of emergencies, especially internally displaced persons through programmes in emergency relief and rehabilitation in Nigeria. Grooming Centre is partnering with Sesor to provide relief materials and psychosocial counseling for IDPs. The Centre has supported Sesor to aid her mission to rehabilitate IDPs and provide food, healthcare services and counselling for them.


Grooming Centre and Sesor renew support partnership

Friday, 10th of August 2018, was an important day as Grooming People for Better Livelihood Centre renewed its partnership support to Sesor Empowerment Foundation (Sesor) by donating ₦10.2 million toward the development of a Safe Day Space Centre and the continuing work of rehabilitating and reintegrating Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Lagos and Benue States.

The focus of Sesor Empowerment Foundation (Sesor) has progressed from highlighting the displacement issues present in the country to seeking ways to provide basic needs and skills acquisition to empower internally displaced women. This partnership, now in its fifth year, is targeted at creating a safe place where displaced women and children can access social support, receive trauma counseling, skill acquisition and adequate health-care as they are nurtured back into the society.

previous arrow
next arrow

Speaking at the event, which held at Grooming Centre’s Conference Room in the Head Office Complex, the Executive Director of Sesor Foundation, Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, expressed her appreciation for the “life-changing and humbling partnership” with Grooming Centre. She stated that the support given by Grooming Centre to the Sesor Empowerment Foundation helped Sesor create more awareness of the situation of displaced women and children in Nigeria, which created a catalyst for other partners to come onboard. She further added that the Safe Day Space Centre will help displaced women earn a living, feed better, live better, provide the opportunity to send their children to school, and ultimately, give them a sense of dignity.

While signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the CEO of Grooming Centre, Dr. Godwin Nwabunka expressed his gratitude for the work done by Sesor and pointed out the need for a joint study on the journey so far with Sesor.

Read more about this on the Guardian.


IFC Universal Financial Access 2020 event

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

UFA 2020 Progress tracker


Alexander Enyinnah elected Vice President of AMT

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.


Grooming Splash Event

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.

previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrownext arrow

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.



Grooming Centre shines at CPP awards

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