In March, Ed Doherty, marked the first Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteer to Nigeria under the new phase of the program focused on agriculture education and training (AET). This new phase of F2F in Nigeria will focus on formal AET institutions (e.g., universities and training centers) as well as producer groups and service providers (including microfinance institutions) providing training and services directly to smallholder farmers.
The Rural Finance Institution Building (RUFIN) Program requested support from F2F to conduct strategic institutional assessments for two apex microfinance institutions, the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) and Association of Non-Bank Microfinance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN). RUFIN, established through a loan agreement between the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the Federal Government of Nigeria, was designed to improve performance and ensure sustainability of rural microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Nigeria, ultimately improving income and food security of poor rural households. Doherty’s assignment was an essential step to strengthening these apex institutions to effectively monitor and supervise MFIs so that they can provide better services and training to farmers in the future. Rural poor families will directly benefit from the improved financial services, in terms of quality, quantity, and access to credit.
Doherty, a management consultant, trainer, and coach specializing in improving the performance of individuals and work groups, reviewed documents, conducted site visits and stakeholder meetings, and led both apex organizations through organizational self-assessments. During fact finding, it became clear that an absence of teamwork was affecting performance, so following the assessments, Doherty also designed and delivered a one-day workshop to build skills on “Listening, Conflict Resolution, and Team Development,” which was attended and well-received by members of both apex organizations, RUFIN staff, and staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, among others.
Following the assessment, Mr. Kabir Mustapha Yar’adua, NAMB Executive Security wrote:
“Mr. Doherty has succeeded immensely in pointing to us the way forward to refocusing the Association to serve the members in its core mandate of Advocacy, Capacity Building, Networking and Self-regulation. Personally, I am convinced that if we executed his recommendations, the Association will give value to its more than 800 MFBs in a sustainable way, professionalize microfinance banking, help the regulatory authorities in their supervisory roles, and generally increase the impact of the sub-sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP.”
Sounds like the program in Nigeria is off to a good start!