The Proxfin international network is celebrating its 10th anniversary! An initiative of DID's partners, this network for discussion and exchange was created in 2006 and today includes 26 community finance institutions from 23 countries.
In May 2005, to mark the International Year of Microcredit, DID invited all its partners to a seminar on the challenges involved in making financial services accessible. This encounter enabled managers and directors of DID-partner cooperative networks and other financial institutions to identify potential solutions to these challenges and to get to know each other.
One thing became clear to all participants: although their institutions might differ significantly in size and serve distinct markets, they shared the same values and faced similar challenges.
One year later, on September 18, 2006, the Proxfin network was born. Inspired by the desire of its 21 founding members to equip themselves with a communication platform that would enable them to share best practices and innovations, the network can take pride in its achievements:
· Ten international meetings have been held (in Canada, Burkina Faso, Lithuania, Paraguay, Zambia and Thailand) focusing on practical and tangible aspects of community finance.
· Following each encounter, the members of Proxfin published a declaration in which they committed themselves to best practices linked to the theme discussed.
· Three South-South mutual exchanges took place between Proxfin member institutions, enabling delegates to familiarize themselves with new practices or solve actual problems.
· In accordance with their objective of advancing inclusive finance practices, the members of Proxfin committed to the principles advocated by the Smart Campaign to protect microfinance clients, participated in the Social Performance Task Force and adopted an environmental policy, in addition to promoting their values and best practices on numerous international forums
· Member institutions share their financial and social performance results on a regular basis in a performance report available to the public.
· 20 issues of the Proxfin newsletter have been published.
· The Proxfin Management Committee, composed of five regional representatives (from Latin America, French-speaking Africa, English-speaking Africa, Asia and Europe) and chaired in turn by representatives from Mexico, Lithuania, Burkina Faso and the Philippines, has played an active role in the good governance of the network through regular meetings and exchanges.
Throughout its ten-year history, Proxfin has contributed to capacity building for all its members and to spreading the cooperative values and principles that guide its actions, beginning with the necessity of combining social impact and sustainability. Coordinated by DID, the network has been able to grow and evolve thanks in part to financial assistance from the Government of Canada and the Desjardins Group.
Today, Proxfin comprises 26 member institutions from 23 countries. Together, these institutions provide over 10 million families and entrepreneurs with access to diversified and secure financial services.