SDG 1 AND 2Learn more about our approach to social performance and impact and get to know us better through our third impact report. We explore socio-economic outcomes and multi-dimensional well-being among our clients and talk about new social indicators and environmental initiatives we introduced over the past year.
A ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
The village of Ping Taung is located in Tatkone township, a mere 60 kilometers from the capital city of Naypyidaw. This village of about 90 households consists of over 50 farming households mainly growing paddy and onion, all of whom we serve being the only microfinance institution operating in the village for the last two years.
This dashboard depicts our social indicators and we monitor progress on these regularly. Key indicators include poverty levels among new clients, frequency of customer complaints, as well as results from our in-house impact study.
An additional support to our clients besides our loans is necessary for a greater impact on their lives. Thus, we also provide non-financial services such as financial literacy and environmental sustainability training.
The rural parts of Myanmar face tremendous hurdles with regard to accessing finance and are marred by a lack of financial literacy. We combat this, with an interactive pamphlet and an animated video that will effectively teach our current and potential clientele the fundamentals of money management. All clients receive this training at the time of disbursement.
These measures further develop our triple-bottom-line approach and help us to become an environmentally responsible organization. We feel responsible to implement sustainability where and whenever we can. Therefore, we provide Environmental and Social Risk training based on the sustainability guidance developed by the Dutch Development Agency (FMO). In addition to this, we are a signatory to the Principles of Responsible Banking under the United Nations Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP-Fi), working towards creating a more sustainable environment within our organizational practices.
We are involved in a number of initiatives to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations. The first policy adopted was the Recycling Policy, in collaboration with Recyglo, a local recycling company. This policy addresses Goal 12 of the SDGs, which calls for responsible consumption and production. Since then, we have significantly reduced our internal usage of plastic and paper.
Another initiative that we undertook is reducing our carbon footprint which was an exciting and active endeavor in which our team planted over 1200 seeds of Mangrove over 1 acre of land. Once done, it will reduce 2000 tons of carbon within 20 years, equivalent to 100 tons per year. This is comparable to reducing an average car’s total carbon emissions over a span of 5 months. In addition to this, we have contributed to the planting of nearly 3000 Mangrove trees by local communities.
Single use plastic remains prevalent in Myanmar and poses a threat to marine life and the environment. We wanted to build awareness among our team members and found the perfect occasion at our year-end staff party which took place in the city of Dawei, Tanintharyi region of Myanmar. Among other team building activities we organized a green activity called the Maha Clean-Up initiative which involved collection of plastic and other trash along 200 meters of the Maungmagan beach with our team of 160 staff members. In the future, we will be focusing our efforts on waste reduction and management as part of our upcoming sustainability initiatives.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
In our pursuit of the triple-bottom-line, we are entirely guided by the SDGs. As an agri-focused rural financial service provider, our endeavors revolve around SDG Goals 1, 2 and 12 respectively. The role of microfinance in poverty reduction is widely accepted and as such, we focus on farmers of rural Myanmar which show higher poverty levels.
This also allows us to address goal 2 which in part is dedicated to supporting smallholder farmers who are our primary clientele. In addition to this, we support our clients through environmental sustainability training wherein clients are educated about risks associated with their business activities and simple ways to mitigate them. We believe the best outcomes are only possible when financial services are complimented with building our client’s knowledge base.