Transforming lives through Jesus Christ with the provision of microfinance and health care in His name, incarnationally and holistically
Monday, August 1, 2011
Ministry Updates - July 2011
Dear friends, family and fellow Kingdom workers,
The month of July was a little volatile but we ended up seeing a continued trend of improvements in all aspects of UOB ministry.
The following highlights the ministry updates for July 2011:
1. We provided HLI (Holistic Life Improvement) training for 7,683 clients in June. HLI has 60 biblical solutions to life situations in business management, personal household finance and health management. It is an important mission for us since our objective is to see holistic transformation of the people we serve.
2. We signed an agreement to provide Western Union money transfer services. WU is the largest money transfer service provider in the world. We will also sign up for Money Gram and RIA, the second and third. This is part of the overall FX operations that we are implementing.
3. As of July 31st, UOB's loan portfolio has gained a slight growth to Rwf5.95 Bn or US$9.9 million. Client numbers also continued a growth trend although the growth pace slowed down a bit in July.
4. Meanwhile, PAR (Portfolio At Risk) > 30 days remained strong at well below 1%.
5. We continued to work on designing the EduFinance products for CSL (Career Student Loans) and VSL (Vocational Student Loans). They will be pilot-tested with a few selected schools in September.
6. Under the e-Wallet strategies, we installed three (3) ATMs and they have gone live with RSwitch in July! Praise the Lord! Also, we distributed UOB Grace Cards to our staff for further testing. We also continued our discussion with an e-payment service provider for collaboration. Please stand with us in our endeavor through your prayer.
7. After we launched our first micro insurance product in June, we received three claims in July. One was the death of a client, another was related to the death of a client's spouse and the other was the death of a client's child. After we collected all evidencing documents, we have made payment within 48 hoursIt was a record speed to Rwandans who are used to a prolonged proces of months before they get paid.
8. We were successful in disbursing production loans to 650+ rice farmers in Rwamagana after a series of challenges which by God's grace we were able to overcome. We are now working with additional farmers for rice, maize and Irish potatos.
9. Shalom Bible Study (SBS) has grown into two groups as the group was getting too large. If a group is too big, then some people may choose to sideline, we cannot care for them well and the room for others to join is limited. Overall it was a good decision. The other group is being led by a missionary from S. Korae. We praise the Lord for this blessing.
10. The Kininya sewing project that Kristin is handling is progressing well. 20 women are now making sample products.
11. Jeffrey continued serving God's saints through preaching at St. Etiene Cathedral, UOB staff devotion and a Korean church being established.
12.Prayer Requests: Please...
* Pray for the UOB's continuing holistic transformational development through Christian micro finance in Rwanda.
* Pray for the steady implementation of UOB's e-Wallet strategy. * Pray for a tangible progress in UOB's agricultural lending program. It has stumbled a lot lately without making progress.
* Pray for God's wisdom and guidance in designing effective educational finance products that will benefit many students in Rwanda
* Pray for Joyce who is now in Milan, Italy but will transition to Benetton's young artist developmnt program in Italy.
* Pray for God's wisdom and guidance on a new health clinic project that Kristin is praying about
* Pray for God's peacefulness in the hearts of Kristin's mom during her last days of life on earth
Our son in law James has safely return to the U.S. from Afghanistan. Thank you for your prayer support!
We thank you for standing with us in our ministry.
Jeffrey is a Christian financial entrepreneur. He has been in the industry for more than 35 years, including 17 years as CEO for three banks in the U.S. and Rwanda. Recently, he was CEO for Urwego Opportunity Bank in Rwanda for more than five years until May 1, 2014. In October 2015, he founded SfK Ministries and serves as its CEO. His experiences are diverse from branch banking to project finance, from community banking to corporate banking.
Kristin is a registered nurse. She has been in various departments of nursing for 30 years.
They are happily married and have two daughters, Amanda and Joyce. They live in Rwanda and Thailand.
The Needs in Rwanda
60.3 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day
87.8 percent live on less than $2 a day.
The life expectancy is 44 years old
5 percent of the population have access to electricity and 3 percent have internet access
In the genocide of 1994, over 800,000 people were killed in 100 days.
A small country of about 9 million people, Rwanda is located between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Rwanda experienced Africa’s worst genocide in the 1990s, in which the two main ethnic tribes (Tutsis and Hutus) came head to head; over 800,000 people were killed and two million fled to neighboring countries.
Rwanda is now rebuilding its economy, with coffee and tea production among its main sources of foreign exchange. Although economic growth has exceeded 5% since 2001, Rwanda is still highly dependent on foreign aid, and nearly two thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. Only 5% of Rwanda’s population has access to electricity and 3% has internet access.
The microfinance sector in Rwanda is still young, but has grown considerably in a short amount of time. There are over 200 MFIs in Rwanda, many of which emerged after the genocide in 1994. Since 2004, the nation has seen the rapid growth of unregistered and unregulated MFIs. Even with this boom of MFIs in Rwanda, both the informal (moneylenders) and formal microfinance sectors are still weak and have only reached about 30% of the estimated demand for microfinance services.
In the past two years, several MFIs ran out of funds and were forced to shut down. The current irregularities in the microfinance industry have forced the government and National Bank of Rwanda to create more stringent norms and standards to strengthen the sector.