Whole Planet Foundation wants to acknowledge the achievements of the Field Officers who work for our microfinance partners around the globe. In July 2014, we piloted a new Field Officer Appreciation Award in the Africa/MENA region. In total, this region includes 22 partner institutions that collectively employ more than 6,000 Field Officers!
When people hear about microfinance the focus is typically on the clients who take a microfinance loan, use that capital to create new sources of income for themselves and pay back the loan so the money can be used again and again. It is an inspiring story of locally grown success that forms the basis for the Whole Planet Foundation strategy for poverty alleviation worldwide.
An important piece of this Whole Planet Foundation strategy is the microfinance institution which delivers that capital into the hands of the thousands of beneficiaries of microfinance in impoverished communities around the world. Each of these microfinance partners depend on the hard work and dedication of teams of field officers to bring loans to marginalized communities and ensure that entrepreneur clients receiving credit have a positive experience with their loans.
Field Officers work long hours in tough conditions, often at great personal risk to themselves. For example, the risks of motorcycle accidents or being targeted by thieves are very real. Many Field Officers come from communities affected by poverty, so they often have very personal reasons to persevere in this tough line of work. These Field Officers are the engine which powers our microfinance institution partners. The Field Officers are the ones who ride motorcycles great distances on bad roads to reach rural clients, rain or shine. They teach clients, many of whom have never had access to credit before, about financial literacy – how to budget, save and ultimately manage the opportunity and responsibility of debt. The Field Officers are the ones who engage communities in traditional societies to convince them that women should be given a chance to start a business to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
We asked all of our Africa/MENA partners to internally nominate their strongest Field Officer and submit her or his story to us for consideration in the competition. We were thrilled to receive submissions from 18 countries, and the entire Whole Planet Foundation team took part in a vote to choose the best among the best. Please stay tuned for individual profiles of our winning field officers. We will be sharing the amazing ways these individuals have gone above and beyond the call of duty to truly live the mission of the organizations where they work and the clients whom they serve.
The two GRAND PRIZE winners are:
Twelve HONORABLE MENTIONS include:
Congratulations to all of our partners’ hard-working Field Officers!