A press conference was held in a separate room after the first part of the ceremony. With the theme of “Contributing to finance inclusion of all of Myanmar by focusing on the approach towards especially supporting children of the poor population through financing”, 5 items in our new project were announced, followed by an introduction of Panasonic’s product and signing ceremony between Linklusion Ltd. and Japan Brain Corporation.
MJI Announces New Project for Women and Children
5 Items, Including Panasonic Solar Storage and Educational Loans
December 1, 2016, MJI ENTERPRISE CO., LTD. (Hereafter MJI) marked the first anniversary of our microfinance project by holding a ceremony for microfinance users at the PARKROYAL Yangon Hotel. Over 200 female customers from rural areas attended, and in addition to these microfinance users sharing the financial literacy which they have gained, Solar Storage products from Panasonic were introduced; in order to increase financial awareness, MJI consultant Ikuko Okamoto (Professor at Toyo University/Researcher on Myanmar Agricultural Economics) gave a lecture on the usefulness of financial inclusion for impoverished classes. Moreover, MJI announced a new project encompassing the following five points, with the slogan “For women who support families and household finances, and their children.”
1. Panasonic Solar Storage Loans
-Aiming to Improve Children’s Educational Environments-
In December 2016, MJI, in cooperation with Panasonic Asia Pacific Yangon Branch (Yangon,Chief Representative: Hisakazu Maeda), began offering loans which may be used to purchase Panasonic’s “eneloop Solar Storage” systems. Solar Storage is a small electrical storage system which goal is to be used to illuminate daily life in non-electrified regions. It can guarantee 6.5 watts of illumination, enough for a child to study in the middle of the night, even in regions which lack sufficient infrastructure to charge it and can be depended on to supply clean light and peace of mind (lasts for 5 years). This is our first experiment in Myanmar as a Japanese owned microfinance organization to provide this type of loan service so now it is possible for us to deliver high-quality goods to impoverished people who would have trouble paying for them in a lump sum. ・Repayment Amount: around 6,000 kyat/week ・Repayment Period: Roughly 6 months
2. New Products to Support Children’s Education and Medical Care
-Education and Medical Care for Children’s Futures-
November 2016, MJI began offering the following two types of loans with the goal of supporting children’s active growth to adulthood.
(1)Education Loans We provide loans for school expenses during the period in which costs for the entry and promotion in school pile up (May-July).By providing this loan, not only can we decrease the number of students who do not attend school for economic reasons, we can reduce and eliminate pressure on household finances due to these costs.
(2)Medical Care Loans We offer loans to cover medical expenses for children under the age of 18. With this coverage, they can receive the proper medical care when they need it, supporting children’s healthy development and growth to adulthood. In addition, the debt incurred by the user from these products is less than that of ordinary loans.
3. Expansion of Operations into Sagaing Region and Kachin State
-Greater Credit Access for Women and Children-
Starting in the 2017 fiscal year, MJI plans to expand into the Sagaing region and Kachin state. In addition to the 10,000 customers in the Yangon and Bago regions, expanding into the mentioned rural regions and areas where minority populations live, will make it possible to deliver financial services to even more people. MJI proactively strives to solve problems among impoverished families for whom credit access is difficult. Although this is a new business area, customers will be restricted to women and further supporting women who support their households and children.
4. Publication of a Social Magazine for Low-Income Earners and Common People
-Maintaining Information Infrastructure in Rural Areas-
In cooperation with Linklusion Ltd. (Chuo-Ku, Tokyo; Representative Director: Hidenori Kuroyanagi) and Yangon Media Professionals, we will launch the free information magazine Mango! , aimed at low-income earners and common people (Planned for January 2017). With the concept of delivering information and news “Into Everyone’s Hands, Like Mangoes,” we are developing it to target people such as women, mothers, small business owners, the poor, and those residing in nonelectrified areas. We plan to publish contents to bring information to support small businesses, introduce health preservation and disaster prevention plans, to improve quality of life, and advance improvement of financial literacy.
By providing pertinent life-related information to rural areas for free, we will reduce the information gap between those places and the cities. In cooperation with microfinance organizations, we will also tailor our strengths to suit the readers’ attributes. Moreover, we will collect post-distribution reader feedback to measure the effects of the published information based on the readers’ attributes.
5. Introduction of Customer and Administrative Management Systems
-Planning to Increase Business Efficiency By Digitization-
On December 1, 2016, MJI will contract with Japanese system development company Japan Brain Corporation (Toshima-Ku, Tokyo; Representative Director: Takeuchi Miyauchi) and Linklusion Ltd. to totally digitize customer and administrative management which have heretofore been performed manually by staff. In addition to improving business efficiency on a large scale, we intend to make it possible to efficiently collect and analyze user data. We will use the analyzed data to solve problems, create better services and support customers’ financial independence. Henceforth, MJI will increasingly make efforts to cooperatively develop and introduce IT technology with a focus on microfinance and impoverished groups.