Sunday, June 24, 2012

Triple Jump Advisory Services...

Triple Jump is a funding source for micro financial institutions. They operate in most of developing countries.

UOB is a partner with Triple Jump. In fact, Triple Jump was the first lender to UOB in 2010. It is a boutique shop with excellent turnaround service and prompt follow up on issues. Moreover it offers flexibility in the program. I like them.

Moreover, Triple Jump has Advisory Services on technical assistance.

UOB now has signed two agreements with Triple Jump Advisory Services: SME lending and M-banking. It is a cost-sharing arrangement, so it is not totally free. But I am excited about this collaboration opportunity to strengthen UOB's programs.

Consultants have come and started working on assessments and action plans.

I pray that the good Lord will walk with us in this journey to bear many fruits through this collaboration.
- Jeffrey

Rwamagana Branch Roof Collapsed but now Fixed

In May, Rwamagana Branch roof collapsed because of heavy rains. I was traveling so I did not see it first hand, but it looked like a site after a bombing. The entire roof collapsed and the floor was exposed to the sky. You will agree based on the photo to the left.

Our leadership team acted promptly and properly. They visited the site, talked to the local authority, contacted the landlord overseas and hired a contractor for immediate repair. I was so proud of the team.

Our branch operation was not affected because there was an empty space upstairs. We were supposed to use the space but we delayed the occupancy because of other priorities. It turned out to be a blessing to delay the occupancy. Praise the Lord!

The local authority could have stopped our branch operations while the construction work was under way. By God's grace, our operations were not affected and we were able to continue operations during the construction period.

Now, it has been fixed and it looks better than before. (Right)

We praised God who has protected us from the incident. We plan to relocate the Rwamagana EBU from the ground floor and establish the bank's DR (disaster recovery) site upstairs of the building. - Jeffrey

A Funding Proposal to IFC

In June, UOB submitted a funding proposal to IFC (International Finance Corporation). This proposal is to develop and implement mobile and agent banking to accelerate the outreach to rural areas. To achieve an effective implementation, it is essential to develop a well-designed agent network through which clients may have access to cash deposit and withdrawal.

The agent network design includes an accurate cost model and a solid pricing model so that the pricing is affordable to clients while the commission schedule is attractive to the agents. It is tough, but it is a mandate.

If our proposal is accepted, the funding will make this tough task more easily implemented.

To date, God has already given us a lot of favor through dedicated people, financial resources and technical support. But success is still a long way to go. We begin to see the mountain height and the cliff depth along the way. But we are determined with the commitment to the mission to help expand the outreach. We will get there eventually, only if God's blessing is upon us and the project.
I pray that God will shine His face upon us. - Jeffrey

Monday, June 11, 2012

Joyce is heading to Senegal as a Peace Corps volunteer

Joyce is our younger daughter and graduated from college in 2009. She graduated with two bachelor's degrees: one in business and the other in visual studies. After working for a couple of companies, she has chosen to volunteer overseas for two years or so. She has been assigned to Senegal in Africa and is now ready to depart. On Tuesday, June 12, she will leave for Senegal. Senegal is a country in West Africa. It looks like a skull with its mouth open because of Gambia that is surrounded by Senegal.

She will provide assistance for small businesses as her primary responsibility but she is likely to teach English also. She likes writing and editing, but she does not like speaking and teaching English as much.

We are living in Africa and have seen many young people live in Africa well, but I feel uneasy about Joyce's relocation to Africa. It is partly because she is our daughter and also partly because to us she is just a shy little girl. Moreover, it is a well known fact that Peace Corps volunteers are paid a stipend of so little money for their living allowance that their living conditions are minimal. Combined, they make me nervous.

On the other hand, the rational side of my mind is telling me that my concern will not help the situation at all. It will only make my life miserable. So I have to learn to leave Joyce and all matters in God's good hands.

Oh Lord, I pray that your Spirit will travel with Joyce so that she finds the rest and peace only in you. May Joyce draw nearer to you and put her trust in you more than ever! - Jeffrey