Responsible for the development of microfinance sector capacity building component of large multi-donor microfinance support project. This involved designing; a capacity building programme for local private sector training service providers, a demand-side subsidy (voucher) scheme and extensive monitoring and quality control.
Market research, assessment of, and recommendations for BT’s pilot “extreme poverty” savings & credit programme.
Microfinance Services Pty Ltd provided 6 consultants to implement this project which aims to support the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) in the execution of the Indira Mahila Yojana (IMY) project. The IMY is the largest government managed microfinance project in India with a planned coverage of over 1 million women. The Training in Microfinance for Women’s Groups technical assistance project created a cadre of 80 Master Trainer of Trainers. In addition, Microfinance Services responsibilities included the provision of specialist training to 30 GOI officials through a study tour to Bangladesh and Indonesia (to critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of microfinance projects in these countries) and an Australian based training program. The Australian training focused on project planning and management, microfinance implementation strategies, financial analysis, community development and communication skills and techniques. Microfinance Services Pty Ltd also provided support to the DWCD in the areas of key strategic advice in implementation of the Indira Mahila Yojana project and advising key government departments and parastatal concerned with microfinance on general microfinance policy.
This study examined innovations in which microfinance services have been adapted to the needs and conditions of extremely poor households. This study forms a chapter in “Private Finance for Human Development” published by UNDP-SUM. The paper was presented by the author at the Second Annual Seminar on New Development Finance in Frankfurt in September 1998 and published in the Small Enterprise Development Journal.
Microfinance Services was responsible for the design of a savings and credit programme to assist Afghan villagers re-establish small enterprises in the wake of the prolonged Afghan war. The programme has been developed in an environment of political uncertainty, high inflation and has needed to conform to strict laws of Islamic banking.
Robert Hickson was responsible for leading a team of 6 consultants in the Bangladesh Research and Development Technical Assistance Project providing research and development support to an ADB funded Microfinance Project. This project is executed by the GOB using the Grameen Bank model of credit delivery. The TA has worked closely with the Grameen Bank in providing training to project field staff and establishing credit operating systems. The task of the TA has been not only to provide ongoing assistance to the GOB in the adoption of the Grameen Model but also undertake research and highlight issues limiting the effectiveness of this model. Dr Hickson was specifically responsible for project and personnel management, identification and conduct of appropriate research topics. The primary goal is to not only provide critical research into issues facing microcredit delivery systems but to develop the government executing agency’s capacity to analyse and act upon these findings, and systematically monitor and evaluate the social and economic impact of the project. This technical assistance project provided a total of 12 months input spread over a period of 4 years.
Dr Hickson (Managing Director of Microfinance Services) was responsible for leading a team of 3 consultants for 18 months on the Sindh component of the Livestock Sector Development Project. He was specifically responsible for the development of extension system within the Livestock Department. This involved preparation of extension material, identification of appropriate technologies, establishment of producer organisations (as a means of channelling these extension inputs and for marketing of livestock production outputs, primarily milk). Credit and savings co-operatives were established to mobilise local capital resources for small on- and off-farm entrepreneurs through the encouragement of savings by local wage earners.