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Desjardins Inter­national Develop­ment (DID) projects

We work with partners in developing and emerging countries to provide disadvantaged populations access to financial services that fit their needs. In this way, we promote financial inclusion around the world.

DID projects in Africa

Benin

Support for Developing, Professionalizing and Revitalizing Microfinance (ADAPAMI) Benin

This project aims to improve the economic situation of vulnerable populations of Benin, particularly women and youth.

Start date

January 2017

End date 

January 2023

Funding partner

Global Affairs Canada

Impact 

10 microfinance institutions supported

Project description

The team supports the state in supervising and modernizing the microfinance sector, which counts 2.2 million members (50% women). It also aims to promote the financial inclusion of approximately 500,000 people, especially people living in rural areas, women and young adults.

We can rightfully take our place alongside men in the workplace. We can lead an all-male or mixed team. The training reassured us and gave us this confidence. 

Participant

ADAPAMI project

Results as of December 31, 2021

  • 605,785 people—58% of whom are women—became clients at one of the project's 10 partner institutions following the financial inclusion strategy implemented
  • 216,995 people—71% of whom are women—now use the digital services offered by the institutions supported
  • 58,351 people from vulnerable populations received financial education training
  • After receiving our support, 78 women were elected to boards of directors of project partner institutions: a 63% increase in 4 years
  • The entrepreneur financial centre in Parakou helps better serve communities in the northern and central regions of Benin
Benin

Supporting the Development of Agricultural Value Chains (AVCs) and Entrepreneurship through the Pineapple Sector Entrepreneurship Development Program (DEFIA) Benin

Start date 

April 2020

End date 

April 2023

Funding partner 

Enabel, Belgian development agency

Project budget

CAN$2 million

Project description

This project aims to support agricultural entrepreneurship by strengthening the financial services offered by inclusive finance institutions to pineapple processors and crop producers in the sector. The first step is to help set up an entrepreneur financial centre (EFC) to serve commercial and agricultural clients.

Then we will participate in the development of specialized financial services, including mobile savings with online tools, and train staff at relevant institutions. Finally, we will create a strategy to promote the services to agriculture and agri-food entrepreneurs.

Results as of December 31, 2021

  • 6 inclusive finance institutions were onboarded
  • The commercial and agricultural EFC was opened
  • 3 tailored credit products were created
  • A new mobile solution for savings collection was rolled out and is currently used by 53,667 people
Ivory Coast and Niger

Establishing 2 Data Centres Ivory Coast and Niger

Start date 

March 2021

End date 

June 2024

Funding partner 

African Development Bank

Project budget 

CAN$1,488,560

Project description

This project aims to establish 2 data centres to encourage the use of electronic payment methods and increase the financial inclusion of populations.

It involves working with Senegal's data centre to establish similar centres based on its model, but in Niger and Ivory Coast. This will happen in 2 phases: The first is to complete studies and preliminary analyses; the second, to launch 2 centres in Niger and Ivory Coast. The centres will provide IT services and advice, enabling institutions to automate their operations and provide their clients with new electronic and mobile services.

Objectives

  • Provide affordable IT services and technical advice to inclusive financial institutions
  • Improve quality of financial information
  • For the financial institutions involved:
    • Improve performance
    • Streamline operations
    • Increase transparency, reliability and security of transactions
    • Offer new payment methods and services to clients
Mali

Agricultural and Rural Financing in Mali (FARM) Mali

Start date

September 2014

End date

June 2021

Funding partner

Global Affairs Canada

Impact

6 financial institutions supported

Project description

The goal of the FARM project was to set up an agricultural and agri-food financing system to provide a structure for the existing financial services offering for farmers. A range of secure financial services improves access to agricultural credit and stimulates entrepreneurship and job growth in the agri-food sector.

FARM's financial literacy training has helped me understand that one of the ways farmers can avoid financial stress is to diversify income sources. So I adopted market gardening in addition to my existing corn production operation. The income from this side business helps me pay my bills and even save a little. I can now help my husband with family and farming business expenses.

Habibata Diawara

Corn Producer

Results as of June 30, 2021 (end of project)

  • Nearly 27,000 agricultural loans were granted, 52% to women, totalling over CAN$11 million
  • 5,034 jobs were created as a result of the loans received
  • 3 new credit products tailored to women were developed
  • Employees of 6 financial institutions received skills development training
  • More than 2,000 women participated in training and awareness activities
  • Financial protection mechanisms were improved for farmers and financial institutions:
    • 3 crop insurance products (rice, corn and onions) are now offered
    • A loan guarantee fund was deployed for participating institutions
  • An environmental and social risk management system was set up at various institutions
Senegal

Integrated Nutrition Project for the Kolda and Kedougou Regions (PINKK) Senegal

Start date

September 2015

End date

February 2020

Funding partner

Global Affairs Canada

Implementing partners

Nutrition International

World Vision Senegal

Cellule de lutte contre la malnutrition (CLM)

Project description

Now completed, this project addressed the problems of malnutrition and food insecurity in the regions of Kolda and Kedougou, which have some of Senegal's highest malnutrition rates. Its goal was to improve nutritional security primarily for women and young children in these regions.

The DID-Senegal team's role was to support women entrepreneurs involved in the production and processing of micronutrient-rich foods by improving their access to financial services, financial literacy and entrepreneur support services.

Results as of March 31, 2020 (end of project)

  • 7,765 women beneficiaries received a total of 8,640 hours of training
  • 1,074 women who were granted credit received support services
  • 1,172 women beneficiaries were granted 1,758 credit products
  • CAN$265,104 was granted in credit products, with no defaults
Senegal

Youth Employment Skills Training Program (STEP) Senegal

Start date

July 2017

End date

October 2020

Funding partner

World Vision Canada

Implementing partner

Enablis

Project description

Now completed, the STEP project aimed to improve the employability of young people aged 15 to 24 in Senegal's Kolda region by helping them acquire new skills. Our role was to make financial literacy part of the youth curriculum and connect young people with microfinance institutions (MFIs) so they could get financing to start their own businesses.

We also helped partner MFIs develop savings and credit products specifically for young entrepreneurs and trained MFI credit agents on how to process loan applications submitted by young people.

Results as of October 31, 2020 (end of project)

  • 11 vocational schools added financial literacy programs
  • 79 teachers were trained to teach financial literacy
  • 14 community savings groups were set up for students and out-of-school youths
  • 344 young people joined these groups and saved a total of CAN$9,500
  • 85% of businesses started by young beneficiaries were self-funded
  • 416 young people were put in contact with a partner MFI
Tunisia

Financing MSMEs Through Capital Investment Tunisia

Investment date

December 2014

Supported institution

Entrepreneur Financial Centre Tunisia

Total capital investment

CAN$2.5 million

Project description

Entrepreneur Financial Centre (EFC) Tunisia is a microfinance institution that provides financing to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in and around Tunisia's urban areas. We created the centre in 2015 and acted as promoter, investor and operator until December 2019 when we handed over the reins to a local team, marking our fifth and last successful EFC transfer.

EFC Tunisia has a process in place for assessing the social and environmental risk of the projects it finances, as well as an entrepreneur support program. In 2019, the centre also developed an official gender equality approach. It has 13 locations and more than 6,700 clients.

Uganda

Financing MSMEs Through Capital Investment Uganda

Investment date

January 2012

Supported institution

Entrepreneurs Financial Centre Uganda

Total capital investment

CAN$2.2 million

Project description

Entrepreneurs Financial Centre (EFC) Uganda is a microfinance institution that has been helping increase access to funding for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in and around urban centres in Uganda. We established the centre in 2012 and acted as promoter, investor and operator until 2018 when we handed over operations to a local management team. EFC Uganda serves 8,600 entrepreneurs, 35% of whom are women. It has 131 employees, 44% of whom are women.

Zambia

Financing MSMEs Through Capital Investment Zambia

Investment date

January 2008

Supported institution

Entrepreneurs Financial Centre Zambia

Total capital investment

CAN$2.4 million

Project description

Formerly Pulse Financial Services , Limited Entrepreneurs Financial Centre (EFC) Zambia is a microfinance institution established in 2009. Our investment helps them provide financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in urban and rural areas of Zambia. We acted as EFC Zambia's promoter, investor and operator for 7 years until 2016, when the institution began operating autonomously under new local management. The institution serves nearly 213,000 companies, 43% of which are led by women, and employs 200 people, more than 54% of whom are women.

DID projects in the Americas

Colombia

Bolstering the Economic and Social Power of Women and Young People in Rural Areas (PROFEM) Colombia

With this project, we support the financial inclusion and capacity-building of women and young people living in rural areas in order to help them reach their full potential.

Start date

March 2020

End date

March 2024

Funding partner

Global Affairs Canada

Project budget

CAN$4,897,236

Project description

This initiative is focused on giving rural women and young people the opportunity to establish a credit history, gain financial literacy and build confidence so they can complete their personal and business projects.

Through this project we receive training on financial issues. I have found it excellent because the information is very diverse, very easy to understand. They also teach you that you are not alone, that there are more people out there who can support you when you need it. The program enables us to strengthen our capacities, taking advantage of the skills we each have.

Yully Milena Arias

Berry producer and user of the PROFEM project's online training platform

Results as of December 31, 2021

  • Creation and rollout of 3 financial literacy programs:
    • Mis Finanzas Cuentan
    • Cuentas Sin Cuento
    • Eficacao
  • 10,000 women and young people in rural areas completed training
Canada

Solidarity-Based Finance Program Canada

Start date

March 2017

End date

Extended until further notice

Funding partner

Desjardins Group

Implementing partner

Participating budget advisory and entrepreneurship support organizations

Project description

As part of this project, we help Desjardins caisses coordinate, deploy, monitor and promote solidarity-based finance programs.

The caisses offer 3 solidarity-based finance products to promote financial inclusion:

  • The Desjardins Mutual Assistance Fund for people experiencing financial difficulty
  • The Desjardins Microcredit to Businesses program for entrepreneurs and self-employed workers who don't qualify for traditional financing
  • Créavenir for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35

These programs help organizations that support people who are financially vulnerable and entrepreneurs without access to the financial system.

Support is offered in the form of coaching and financial education through community organizations and, in many cases, a loan with generous terms.

2021 results

  • For the Desjardins Mutual Assistance Fund:
    • 10,055 people received personalized budgeting advice
    • 432 emergency loans were granted with an average amount of CAN$724
  • For the Desjardins Microcredit to Businesses program:
    • 840 entrepreneurs received support
    • 163 business projects were funded
    • 1,155 jobs were created or maintained
  • For Créavenir:
    • 187 business projects were funded
    • 351 jobs were created or maintained
    • The average loan amount was CAN$13,049
Colombia

Financing MSMEs Through Capital Investment Colombia

Start date

July 2019

Supported institution

Crezcamos S.A.

Total capital investment

CAN$3.2 million

Project description

Crezcamos is a Colombian microfinance institution that was established in 2008. It provides financial services for micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) owners and their families, mainly in rural areas. It offers savings and credit solutions for the farming, commerce, services, production and housing sectors, as well as solutions to help clients plan for the future, including insurance products. It has about 1,700 employees and more than 97,500 clients.

Colombia

Graduar PYMES Project Columbia

Start date

July 2019

End date

September 2022

Funding partners

Global Affairs Canada

Banca de las Oportunidades

Impact

5 financial institutions supported

Project description

The Graduar PYMES project provides support to 5 Colombian financial institutions to help them develop a service offering tailored to the needs of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

At the end of 2020, I applied for loans from different institutions to be able to incorporate my business. Fortunately, one of the Graduar PYMES partner institutions had everything I needed, along with incredibly helpful staff. I was able to develop and register my brand identity, purchase packaging in bulk at lower prices and, most importantly, get access to exclusive product formulations from a lab that meets all quality standards.

Vanessa Castillo

Entrepreneur

Results as of December 31, 2021

  • Funding was provided to 1,541 companies, 33% of which are led by women 
  • A total of 8,974 jobs were created or maintained
Ecuador

Debt Investment to Help Increase Access to Credit and Financial Literacy and Health Services for Women Entrepreneurs Ecuador

Investment date

May 2012

Supported institution

Fundación ESPOIR

Total debt investment

CAN$1.5 million

Project description

Fundación para el desarollo integral ESPOIR is a foundation based in Quito, Ecuador. Our investment helps them achieve their mission of contributing to the country's economic and social development and improving the health of women micro-entrepreneurs. ESPOIR provides credit products and health and financial literacy services to nearly 550,000 clients, 68% of whom are women.

Haiti

Climate Adaptation and Economic Development of Agricultural Sectors (AVETI) Haiti

Start date

March 2019

End date

February 2024

Funding partner

Global Affairs Canada

Implementing partners

International Agricultural Alliance member organizations:

Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI)

SOCODEVI

Union des producteurs agricoles – Dévelop­pement international (UPA-DI)

Project description

The Climate Adaptation and Economic Development of Agricultural Sectors (AVETI) project aims to sustainably increase the value of cacao, yam and other crops mainly overseen by women to ensure their financial empowerment and food security for their families. The project also aims to develop innovative practices so crops are less impacted by climate change.

Our role is to increase access to financing—an integral component of sustainable development—for people involved in the agricultural sectors targeted by the project. We advise and support financial institutions in implementing financial services, particularly for women and young people.

Through the project, I received agricultural training and became a member of a village savings and credit association, which helped me save money and obtain credit. The loan I received has allowed me to build up my small business, become self-sufficient and take care of my children.

Marie Anglesanne Oscar

AVETI project beneficiary

Objectives

  • Increase the market value of cacao, yams and other related crops
  • Adopt innovative agricultural practices for greater resiliency in the face of climate change
  • Increase issuance of loans tailored to farmers
  • Improve living conditions overall for the department of Grand'Anse's rural populations
Nicaragua

Financing MSMEs Through Capital Investment Nicaragua

Investment date

April 2019

Supported institution

Fundeser

Total capital investment

CAN$1.2 million

Project description

Financiera Fundeser is an inclusive finance institution based in Managua, Nicaragua. The institution's client commitment is reflected in its high-quality services and proximity to the people it serves. It offers financial services to help increase the revenue of rural micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the pillars of Nicaragua's economic development.

Across its network of 22 locations in rural and urban areas, Fundeser serves more than 16,575 clients, 50% of whom are women. It offers individual and group loans mainly in agricultural industries, particularly coffee.

Panama

Financing MSMEs Through Capital Investment  Panama

Investment date

December 2009

Supported institution

Centro Financiero Empresarial

Total capital investment

CAN$2.7 ­million

Project description

Centro Financiero Empresarial is a microfinance institution dedicated to financing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in and around urban centres in Panama. We established the centre in 2009 and handed over the operations to a local team in 2018. The centre serves nearly 4,500 businesses and has about 190 employees, more than 53% of whom are women.

Peru

Increasing Access to Financial Services Through Debt Investment Peru

Investment date

December 2018

Supported institution

Abaco

Total debt investment

CAN$2 million

Project description

Abaco is a savings and credit cooperative in Lima, Peru, whose goal is to help improve its members' quality of life by offering them basic financial products and services designed for their needs, while also contributing to sustainable development.

Founded in 1981, the institution has about 120 employees and more than 14,000 clients, 30% of whom are women.

DID projects in Asia

Sri Lanka

Establishment of an Entrepreneur Financial Centre in Sri Lanka (EFECS) Sri Lanka

The financial centre was created to strengthen the SANASA network (Sri Lanka's largest cooperative network) and help provide professional services to entrepreneurs in 4 of Sri Lanka's 9 provinces.

Start date

June 2016

End date

June 2021

Funding partner

Global Affairs Canada

Implementing partner

SANASA

Project description

The centre reinforced the capacities of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs through non-financial services provided by various local structures in the SANASA network. It also supported or helped create hundreds of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, many of which are managed by women. The project created hundreds of new jobs.

Ultimately, the project aimed to help entrepreneurs, primarily women, sustainably manage their finances and their activities and to promote awareness among authorities of how important financial cooperatives are.

The innovation training program changed my life! I enlarged my clothing store from a small room to a full-sized store; I tiled the floors and installed air conditioning, security cameras and a big outdoor sign to attract more customers. And I'm in the midst of building another floor to expand the business!

Subodhi Saranga

Clothing store owner

Results as of June 30, 2021 (end of project)

  • Loans granted to 17,012 MSMEs, of which 10,417 are led by women
  • Business management training for 8,053 entrepreneurs, including 5,641 women
  • Introduction of 3 new credit products adapted for value chain financing
  • Launch of 2 insurance products designed for the risk management of agricultural production supported by the project
  • Distribution of 12 training modules on topics such as change management, self-esteem and bookkeeping
  • Training for 1,978 SANASA network employees so they can provide technical assistance for gender-specific products and services
Tajikistan

Increasing Access to Credit Through Capital Investment Tajikistan

Investment date

November 2014

Supported institution

Humo

Total capital investment

CAN$800,000

Project description

Humo is a socially responsible, community-based organization that was launched in June 2008 as part of a microcredit program aimed at bringing affordable financial services to vulnerable, low-income populations in Tajikistan.

Humo takes part in various projects to promote climate resilience and sustainable agriculture with partners such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The organization is known for helping promote private sector investment in Tajikistan and supporting gender equality and climate resilience.

It's the third-largest microfinance institution in Tajikistan and provides loans to more than 64,450 clients, 41% of whom are women.

Vietnam

Strengthening the People's Credit Funds (PCF) Network

Start date

March 2016

End date

March 2024

Funding partner

Global Affairs Canada

Impact

2 million people supported across the PCF network

Project description

This project aims to improve the integration and performance of the Cooperative Bank of Vietnam (Co-opBank) and its People's Credit Funds (PCF) network to offer a range of financial products and services to a rural client base.

My family took out a loan at the PCF to start a fruit, livestock and aquaculture farm. After a few years, our farm began to generate regular income and our quality of life improved. I see the PCF as an effective source of funding for rural families to help stimulate the local economy.

Ta Van Tri

Member of Quat Dong PCF in Hanoi