RENEW is a Bhutan non-governmental organization dedicated to the relief and empowerment of disadvantaged women and adolescent girls. RENEW stands for Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women. In Bhutan, many low-income households do not have access to formal financial services. Therefore, the project objective is to strengthen Bhutan’s microfinance sector by setting up a microfinance forum and creating a professional microfinance institution.
Together with their German partner, the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation, this target-group-orientated MFI now provides services to some 4,500 women in five regions throughout Bhutan. Many of these women travel long distances to make sure their money is deposited safely and – once they have saved enough – to take out a loan for their business start-up. Besides providing financial services, the project also teaches basic financial literacy to households and women entrepreneurs. This is certainly not an easy undertaking, as in rural settings especially the majority of customers can, at best, write only their names.