Inspired by the success of the Grameen Bank, Kashf Foundation (meaning miracle or revelation i.e. a process of self-discovery) began in 1996 as an action research program focusing, for the first two years, on determining and understanding key factors having an impact on the demand for microfinance services by poor women.
Kashf Foundation began with many firsts: it was the first specialized Microfinance institution in Pakistan, it was the first Microfinance institution targeting only women from low income communities and it was also the first Microfinance institution to charge a sustainable price for its services. Since its inception, Kashf Foundation has continued to trail-blaze – in 1999 it introduced the first pro-women consumption loan in the sector, in 2001 it was the first Microfinance institution to offer micro-insurance services by collaborating with one of Pakistan’s oldest insurance companies, in 2003 it was the first Microfinance institution to become financially sustainable, in 2004 it was the first Microfinance institution to obtain an investable credit rating and in 2007 it has been able to close over $36 million in commercial deals with key local and international banks.
In parallel with the dynamics of the solidarity socioeconomy pole and the solidarity Finance workshop, a working group (FPH, CIDR, Intercoopération suisse, IRAM, FINANSOL) met regularly, since March 2000, to think about the connection between solidarity finance and social links.
This document presents the foundation and gives a progress report of its financial activities between 2000 and 2002.