BRAC Liberia Opens New Branch In Maryland County
BRAC, the largest microfinance provider in Liberia operating since 2008, has opened its 30th branch in Maryland County, in continuation of its mission to promote financial inclusion in the country.
George A. Prowd, Sr., Superintendent of Maryland County, Republic of Liberia, formally inaugurated the new branch at a ceremony held at the new office premise in Zone #3, Pleebo City, Maryland County, on December 15, 2020.
Elliott Wreh-Wilson, Phd., President and Professor Emeritus of Willian V.S. Tubman University, Aloysius Williams, Statutory District Superintendent, and Wellington W. Kyne, City Mayor, were also present at the ceremony, along with zone leaders, woman market leaders, business association leaders, BRAC microfinance group members and members of the press.
BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Limited (BLMCL) started operations in Liberia in 2008, with the mission to provide financial services responsibly to people living in poverty, especially women, living in rural and hard-to-reach areas, to create self-employment opportunities, build financial resilience and harness women’s entrepreneurial spirit.
In alignment with its mission, the new branch, in one of the hard-to-reach parts of the country, will enhance livelihood opportunities for its communities and further improve financial inclusion in Liberia.
At the new branch, BRAC will offer its group-based microloans provided exclusively to women, and small enterprise loans for individual business clients. It also offers loans for job holders in 24 of its branches in the country.
In his remarks, Superintendent George A. Prowd said BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Limited will help improve the economy of the county, but only if the clients are committed. The Maryland county superintendent also asked the management of BRAC to conduct thorough analyses before providing loans to clients.
The mayor of the city of Pleebo, Willington Kyne, said that BRAC’s presence in Pleebo is a good beginning of improving the economy of the city. In his statement, the Statutory Superintendent of Pleebo, Aloysius William also pledged his commitment to working with BRAC.
The President of Tubman University, Dr. Elliot Wreh Wilson, told the clients of BRAC that what they had received is an opportunity and they should handle it with care, considering the economic crisis Liberia is facing.
At the end of the programme, 9 women received 20,000 Liberian dollars each as loans, as the start of BRAC’s journey in Pleebo. Speaking on behalf of the clients, Madam Irene Kuoh said her group will remain committed to BRAC, adding that what they received means a lot to them and their family.
“We are honored and excited to have this opportunity to strengthen our ties with the Government of Liberia and contribute further in improving access to safe and reliable financial services for people of Liberia, particularly for women so that they can realize their potential,” said Khaled Morshed, CEO of BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Limited. “Guided by the government’s prioritization of the south-east counties in the allocation of development resources, BLMCL plans to further expand in these locations in the coming years,” he added.
BRAC believes that given the right opportunities and tools, people living in poverty can turn around their own lives. In a 2019 baseline impact assessment in Liberia, (conducted by 60 Decibels using Lean Data surveys with the support of Global Partnerships), microfinance clients of BRAC noted improvements in their financial resilience in emergencies, and almost all of them stated that their quality of life has improved since engaging with BRAC.
92% of clients accessed a loan for the first time with BRAC, and 99% reported that they could not easily access a good alternative, proving the positive impact of BRAC’s services on the lives of its clients.
BRAC Liberia Microfinance Company Limited has almost 38,000 borrowers, 97% of whom are women, and has disbursed over USD 73 million in loans since its inception. The company played an important role to keep up the economic activity in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak and was one of the participating financial institutions for the Post Ebola Reconstruction Project, coordinated jointly by the Central Bank of Liberia and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and funded by the World Bank.
BRAC’s NGO entity has also been working in Liberia since 2008 and runs social development programs such as agriculture and food security, health, education, empowerment and livelihood for adolescents and ultra-poor graduation programs. BRAC has been working actively to support the government’s COVID-19 response. So far, BRAC Liberia has distributed 1,726 hand washing buckets with chlorine and detergent powder to all microfinance groups and also provided food packages to visually impaired people in Montserrado County. All microfinance staff and branches received Covid-19 protective wear and equipment such as thermal guns, reusable masks, hand sanitizers, hand gloves, face shields, etc.