APRACA obtained a grant “Programme on Linkage Banking and Grassroots Financial Systems Development” from Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zuammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH by mutual agreement on October 27, 1994. GTZ, later renamed as GIZ, was an international cooperation and development agency established by the German Government.
The Programme, with the donating budget of DM 1.2 million for three years, aimed at strengthening APRACA in its task of satisfying the need of member banks for further planning and implementation of Programme 1 (Linkage of self-help groups and banks) and for development of appropriate and sustainable financing instruments in support of micro-entrepreneurs.
Under the Programme, country studies on microfinance were conducted in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan and Laos and national workshops on microfinance were held in Laos and China. A Regional Workshop on the linkage Programme: Assessment of Linage Projects in Asia was held in December 1997 in Denpasar, Indonesia with a view to assessing the present situation of linkage banking and its future prospects. The workshop was a culmination of the Regional Linkage Programme that had actively been promoted by APRACA for over a decade with technical support of GTZ.
APRACA conducted a Regional Programme on Collateral Substitutes under the auspices of International Labour Organization (ILO) of UN and the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC). ILO and SDC offered US$756,000 to APRACA during the Programme period of three years.
The Programme aimed to enable APRACA to strengthen its structure and its network of member institutions as a forum for exchange information and experience in the field of lending with the use of collateral substitutes, thereby building the capability of rural financial institutions, both large and small, in making their financial accessible to the rural poor.
National as well as regional studies, regional workshops, policy dialogues and training courses on collateral substitutes were conducted under the Programme. Research and training activities of the Programme were carried out by the active participation of APRACA Agencies, APRACA Consultancy Services and APRACA CENTRAB.
The five-year grant, signed by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President and APRACA Chairman, covered the implementation of the Regional Programme for Strengthening Financial Services for Rural Poor: Building on the Credit Experiences in IFAD Member States of Asia and the Pacific or dubbed as the MICROSERV Programme.
The Programme included the identification of innovations, lessons learned and insights with regard to rural and micro finance as well as their dissemination in the region through print media and major forums, such as workshops, field observation visits and training activities, During the Programme period, APRACA conducted 6 workshops, 4 training courses, 12 national seminars and 36 field visits that benefitted a total of 1,073 participants.
MICROSERV bestowed special importance on the participation of institutions and projects from least developed and developing countries in the region, particularly Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos Mongolia, Myanmar, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Vietnam. IFAD contributed a total of US$ 900,000 (US$ 180,000 annually) to the Programme.
APRACA has obtained a five-year technical and financial assistance grant from IFAD amounting to US$ 1.2 million to implement the Regional Programme of Accelerating the Financial Empowerment of Poor Rural Communities in Asia and the Pacific through Financial Innovations or dubbed as the IFAD-APRACA FinPower Programme, The FinPower Programme aimed to promote the financial empowerment of the rural poor in Asia-Pacific countries through policy dialogue, innovative pilot programmes, and knowledge sharing among actors in the rural finance sector. The programme, covering the period 2007 to 2011, mainly targeted 16 countries in the region-Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sir Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
Under the programme, APRACA has annually conducted 20 to 25 projects such as regional studies and forums, national studies and forums, policy dialogues and pilot testing, excursion visits and training courses in the field of rural and micro finance in collaboration with its member institutions and IFAD’s project offices in respective countries.