Grand Duchess Maria Teresa flanked by the three finalists of the European Microfinance Award and government and NGO representatives
Microfinance: Last week Grand Duchess Maria Teresa presented Kompanion Financial Group from Kyrgyzstan with the 5th European Microfinance Award, for its commitment to both microfinance and environmental sustainability.
The award was launched in 2005 by the Luxembourg ministry of foreign and European affairs and is jointly organised by Luxembourg’s directorate for development cooperation, the European Microfinance Platform, and the Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank(EIB).
Credit for conservation
Kompanion runs a Pasture Land Management Training Initiative that provides a specialised “Credit for Conservation” loan linked to a training programme for livestock farmers, which introduces sustainable land management practices and helps restore previously degraded lands.
Kompanion’s director of development Olesia Paukova said that the group plans to use the €100,000 prize money to develop a ‘mobile classroom’ to reach the herders in remote pasture lands and provide training in more villages across Kyrgyzstan. “We will also develop video materials to be used in public schools in remote areas. These materials will connect students in those areas with our livestock management experts who will present the best pasture land management practices. This will increase our outreach even further.”
The other finalists were ESAF Microfinance and Investments in India, which runs a Clean Energy for the Poor initiative that enables its clients to purchase solar energy solutions, efficient cook stoves, and water filters, and XacBank LLC in Mongolia which has facilitated the purchase of over 150,000 energy efficient heating and insulation products to poor households in Ulaanbaatar.
Prior to the ceremony finance minister Pierre Gramegna, minister of the economy Etienne Schneider and EIB president Werner Hoyer signed a memorandum of understanding, the fourth of its kind between the bank and Luxembourg. Worth €3.6 million, the agreement will see grants provided to support microfinance institutions in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, including those hit by the Ebola crisis.