In partnership with the US-based, nonprofit Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network and The MasterCard Foundation of Canada, the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Rwanda (AMIR) recently rolled out the Responsible Finance Through Local Leadership and Learning Program. With funding of USD 3.9 million provided by The MasterCard Foundation, the program is intended to “scale the application of consumer protection principles for at least 2 million low-income financial service customers in Rwanda” through 2020. With technical support from SEEP, AMIR will aid Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) across Rwanda in revising their business plans to incorporate consumer protection principles. Approximately 3 million people hold accounts at 472 microfinance institutions in Rwanda [1, 7, 8].
AMIR, which was established in 2007, has 318 members as of 2016. It seeks to build the capacity of Rwanda’s microfinance industry, and its membership is open to all microfinance institutions that have been registered by Rwanda’s central bank .
Founded in 1985, the SEEP Network, which has members working in 170 countries, seeks to address issues relating to financial services, market development, program evaluation and improving services for groups such as women and youth .
The MasterCard Foundation seeks to enable people living in poverty to improve their lives with increased access to microfinance and education, primarily in Africa . The foundation was established in 2006 by a gift of shares from US-based payment processor Mastercard Worldwide during the company’s initial public offering. As of 2016, The MasterCard Foundation reported approximately USD 9.2 billion in assets .
By Matthew O’Neill, Research Associate
Sources and Additional Resources:
 Rwanda: MFIs Tipped On Consumer Protection:
 MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR), Child Savings International (Aflatoun), United Kingdom’s Department for International Development Inaugurate Youth Educational Program in Rwanda:
 MICROFINANCE EVENT: Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network Annual Conference; October 2-4, 2017; Arlington, Virginia, USA:
 MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity Awards $3m to Ibero Uganda First Access, Letsgo; Is Accepting Applications for More Funding Through August 10:
 The MasterCard Foundation Financials, 2016:
 Responsible Finance Through Local Leadership and Learning Program Overview:
 Responsible Finance through Local Leadership and Learning Program, Press Release:
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- MICROFINANCE EVENT: International Conference on Responsible Inclusive Finance; March 21 – 22, 2018; Kigali, Rwanda
- MICROFINANCE EVENT: Global Savings Group Conference; May 22 – 24, 2018; Kigali, Rwanda
- MICROFINANCE EVENT: Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Learning Forum; May 23-25, 2017; Bangkok, Thailand
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- MICROFINANCE EVENT: Young Africa Works Summit; February 16 – 17, 2017; Kigali, Rwanda