Bangladesh

Consultant for assessing the impact of financial inclusion and developing relevant intervention strategies for M4C

Organization
Posted
Closing date

BACKGROUND OF THE TASK

Access to appropriate financial services has always been a constraint in the char areas due to the absence of banks and microfinance institutions. Due to lack of working capital, char farmers cannot purchase and apply better quality inputs, follow proper cultivation processes which lead to lower return and lower-income. On the other hand, financial service providers find the chars unattractive as well as risky for investment. Micro Finance Institutes (MFIs) always consider recovery of long-term unsecured loans as seasonal loan covers a very small share of their product portfolio. Due to limited availability of eligible borrowers, security of handling cash, higher operation, recruitment challenges, financial return, and transportation difficulties MFIs were hesitant to risk their investment and doubtful if they would reach a breakeven point within the speculated period.

Agriculture being the primary livelihood option for the majority of farmers, there was a demand for seasonal loans. M4C decided to support the expansion of seasonal loan products and microenterprise loans on the chars through partnerships with NDP (Sirajganj), SKS (Gaibandha), GUK (Bogura), and BRAC.

As of 2020, the project has created financial access through facilitating Seasonal Loan Product (SLP) of CHF 6 Million to 20,000 char farmers covering more than 200 char villages with 99% recovery rate. An in-house assessment revealed that char households used the highest portion of the loan for purchasing fertilizer (18%), paying laborers (14%), and preparing land (12%). The partner microfinance institutes continued to disburse seasonal loan products to an additional 2,500 borrowers even after the end of the partnership contract. Micro-entrepreneurs who started their agri-business with the facilitation of M4C have shown tremendous growth in some char areas. They have borrowed microenterprise loan which was helpful in enhancement of their sales revenue. As of 2020, M4C tracked microenterprise loan disbursement of CHF 0.8 million to 3,000 borrowers from the chars. The project made several interventions regarding productivity increase that helped the MFIs gain sufficient comfort in lending loans to char dwellers.

This holistic market system development approach that M4C has taken in the chars has been replicated to bring about successful financial inclusion in the chars. At this moment the project is focusing on facilitating more potential MFIs including the government-led Palli Sanchay Bank and work with relevant public institutes (e.g., PKSF, RDA) to ensure affordable loan disbursement for low-income households and entrepreneurs in the char areas. Also, the project intends to integrate market facilitation activities with financial inclusion to create a competitive finance market in the project areas.

BROAD OBJECTIVE OF THE TASK

This assignment is designed to expand affordable financial services to low-income households and entrepreneurs efficiently in Northern char areas and assess the impact of MFI led financial inclusion interventions facilitated by M4C.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

· To assess the impact, comparative flexibility, and affordability of the existing financial inclusion model facilitated by M4C through quantifiable indicators and suggest the adaptation strategies planned by the project.

  1. To measure the effectiveness and income generation potential of the financial product(s) facilitated by M4C.

  2. Assess the linkage potential of CDRC/ RDA, Palli Sanchay Bank, PKSF, and Department of Agriculture Marketing (DAM) in order to promote seasonal and micro-enterprise loans in the chars.

  3. Assess the potential of promoting existing micro-insurance products in the chars.

  4. To review the existing Financial Sector Strategy Paper of M4C, guide the project to design an inclusive loan disbursement model of CDRC, and develop a facilitation strategy of micro-insurance in the chars.

The consultancy will be for a period of 17 days during the period of 2021. The Consultant shall specifically undertake the following tasks:

• Conduct a quantitative study (desired) to assess the impact at the project beneficiary level.
• Review the sector strategy paper to prepare a final version of it.
• Discussion (KII) with relevant MFIs, CDRC, PKSF and Palli Sanchay Bank, DAM, and other relevant actors.
• Review the existing Financial Sector Strategy Paper of M4C, develop guidelines to design an inclusive loan disbursement model of CDRC, and facilitation strategy of micro-insurance in the chars. Prepare a knowledge document based on the study and the relevant discussion on Financial Inclusion in the Hard-to-reach Char areas.

How to apply

Please see the application details at the following link:

https://www.swisscontact.org/en/countries/bangladesh/requests-for-proposal