Who We Are
Propagate is a coalition of financial inclusion practitioners with a deep involvement in smallholder finance. We have come together as a group to propagate the message that smallholder finance offers one of the greatest opportunities for growth and impact in financial inclusion today.
Propagate comprises 7 organisations from around the world, including some of the largest and most innovative organisations working in micro and smallholder finance.
What Binds Us Together
While we operate different models and follow varied approaches, a set of common beliefs binds us together as a group:
Financial inclusion must address the needs of farmers. Poverty is chronically rural in much of the developing world, and smallholder farmers cannot be ignored by financial inclusion practitioners interested in working with poorer communities
MFIs need to develop flexible and customised products to serve smallholder farmers in a viable and impactful way.
A more nuanced understanding of risk in smallholder finance will allow more practitioners to offer financial services to farmers
Improved availability and structure of wholesale funding is essential to the sustainable delivery of smallholder finance in a viable manner.
Bridget Dougherty - Director of Operations, BRAC International: The BRAC microfinance program serves more than six million clients in seven countries in Asia and Africa, and has total assets exceeding USD 1 billion. Bridget Dougherty has fourteen years of experience in consulting, project management, process improvement, and systems implementation in both the private and public sectors. Working the last nine years in private sector development and financial inclusion, Dougherty is currently based in Kigali working as the Director of Operations for BRAC International Microfinance (BI MF), where she is responsible for strengthening and supporting the maturing of their Financial Institutions in line with their Growth for Impact strategy, including innovative product development and impact measurement.
Prior to joining BI MF, Dougherty was the Project Manager to the Partnership for Responsible Financial Inclusion at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, and has held several other positions including Program Manager for Truelift, and as Executive Operations Manager at an NGO in Vietnam that worked to promote economic development in sectors that had strong market inclusion for the poor and positive global growth prospects. Dougherty began her career at Accenture, where she project managed and deployed large-scale system implementations for Fortune 100 and 500 corporations. She holds a BA in Economics and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Peter Harlock - Global Head of Products, Innovation & Partnerships, VisionFund International: Peter joined the VisionFund executive leadership team as Global Strategy Director in February 2011. As part of that strategy role, he helped lead the greater focus with VisionFund's parent World Vision on developing larger-scale integrated smallholder farmer approaches. VisionFund clients across the 28 country operations are predominantly rural and that remains the 2030 strategic focus. Agriculture itself will, therefore, continue to be a major focus of VisionFund and Peter's new leadership role on scaling impact products, innovation, and partnerships.
Peter has had senior roles in private, public and charity sectors. He worked in corporate and investment banking with Barclays/BZW for 16 years internationally, latterly as CEO in India and Country Manager in Singapore. He then joined the UK government international development agency CDC as COO (part of DfiD) at a time when it was changing from a project lender into more of a development equity investor. He subsequently worked for 4 years as COO to Save the Children (UK), which was operating in 75 countries and from there to head up a UK- based child foster care organization. He is London based.
Tanmay Chetan - Co-Founder and Group CEO, Agora Microfinance: Agora Microfinance is an investor-operator that builds sustainable microfinance institutions in frontier markets, through establishing green-fields, making/managing equity investments and by providing sustainable institutional debt in Africa and Asia. Within Agora, Tanmay's work revolves around guiding the formulation of strategy and overseeing its execution at both the Group and the investee levels. At present he Chairs the boards of the Group subsidiaries in Cambodia, India and Zambia; as well as its newly established debt vehicle. The Group and its subsidiaries focus on providing high quality financial services to the unbanked in a sustainable, efficient and socially responsible manner.
Tanmay has over two decades of financial inclusion experience, having carried out varied roles including ratings/evaluations, consulting as well as operations. Prior to establishing the Agora Group in 2009, Tanmay served as the first CEO of AMK MFI Plc (Cambodia) for five years to 2007. Before that he worked as the Team-Leader at M-CRIL - a specialised microfinance rating agency - for a number of years until 2003, during which he oversaw and managed credit ratings in multiple countries. Tanmay holds an MBA from IIFM, Bhopal (India) and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. He currently lives in London.
Deborah Foy - Special Advisor to the CEO and Director of Projects, Opportunity International: The Opportunity International Network has a large and growing agricultural finance program. In Africa alone, Opportunity partners have provided 489,000 agricultural production loans to farmers since 2009 and have reached more than 880,000 people with rural savings accounts.
Deborah has worked for Opportunity UK for the past 14 years. She coordinates and facilitates the management of key strategic innovations. Previously, as International Programs Director, Deborah was responsible for program design and delivery across multiple countries and regions. This role included the supervision of the grants management team as well as monitoring, evaluation and learning activities for the organization.
Bernard Kivava - Chief Executive Officer, Juhudi Kilimo: Bernard is a professional microfinance banker with over 15 years of experience in microfinance and project management in East Africa is the current Chief Executive Officer of Juhudi Kilimo. He is responsible for achieving business growth objectives within a rapidly changing,
competitive and demanding business environment to meet stakeholders’ interests. Prior to Juhudi Kilimo, Bernard held numerous leadership positions, notably at Faulu Kenya as the Head of Business Development and as Chief Executive Officer of Letshego Rwanda Limited.
Bernard holds a diploma in Business Management, a Bachelor of Arts degree and is currently undertaking his project for a Master of Business Administration degree in Strategic Management.
Stephanie Hanson - Senior Vice President, Policy & Partnerships, One Acre Fund: Stephanie Hanson is part of the senior leadership team at One Acre Fund, a social enterprise that serves about 1 million smallholder farmers in Africa. She joined One Acre Fund in 2009, and currently manages the organization's government relations/policy, internal and external communications, and microfinance partnerships work.
She sits on the Aspen Institute's Food Security Strategy Working Group, and on the advisory board of Food Tank. From 2006 to 2009, she covered economic and political development in Africa and Latin America for CFR.org, the website of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2008, she won a News and Documentary Emmy for Crisis Guide: Darfur, an interactive media guide that explores the history and context of crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. She is also a certified leadership coach who provides internal coaching to high-potential young leaders at One Acre Fund.
Mike Warmington - Director of Financial Inclusion, Mercy Corps: Mike has worked in banking and financial inclusion for more than a decade. He currently leads Mercy Corps global financial inclusion work, helping to set the agency’s strategy and provide technical support across more than 40 program countries.
Prior to Mercy Corps, Mike spent more than 5 years with One Acre Fund leading their microfinance partnerships work, and created innovative partnerships in the cocoa sector, and with more traditional FSPs to better serve smallholder farmers. He has also spent time as head of operations at an MFI in Malawi and Zambia, and as a project finance analyst with Dexia bank working on UK infrastructure projects.
Farmer photo credit: BRAC