The Ekphathana Microfinance Institution (EMI) joined the Aflatoun family in 2011, when it launched its “Smart Kids” saving program. Since then, more than 44,000 children have joined the programme which helps them learn how to save and borrow responsibly.
EMI is one of the leading microfinance providers of quality financial and non-financial services towards economic empowerment in Lao PDR. Their mission is to empower low and medium income households by developing responsible savings and borrowing behaviour. Recognised for its positive contribution to the society, EMI is the first licensed microfinance institution to operate in Lao PDR under the government’s microfinance regulations issued in 2005.
The institution has introduced Aflatoun in primary and secondary schools in Vientiane capital and meeting centres in Vientiane Province with their “Smart Kids” programme. At the end of 2017, 44,512 children (including 23,000 girls) had already joined the programme, who together succeeded to save 1,080 billion kip (around 100,000 euro). The programme is currently being implemented in 60 schools.
In 2015, thanks to its successful “Smart Kids” programme, EMI was one of the finalists of the prestigious financial journal award called Wall Street Journal Financial Inclusion Challenge. This year, the organization has been the only micro-finance institution invited by the Central Bank of Laos to assist in the development of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy. These achievements demonstrate the centrality of the Institution in raising financial awareness in Lao’s communities.
The Institution also engages its staff’s children with saving and borrowing. On International Children’s Day, on the 1st of June this year, EMI staff held a gathering for their children at an EMI branch in Vientiane. The event was organised to celebrate the Children’s Day and to promote the Smart Kids programme. Children participated in a contest and the winner, who was chosen according to their personal saving account, received prizes such as bikes and toys.