Who We Are
Propagate is a coalition of microfinance 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 6 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 microfinance 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.
Shameran Abed - Microfinance Director, BRAC: The BRAC microfinance program serves more than five million clients in seven countries in Asia and Africa, and has total assets exceeding USD 1 billion. Mr. Abed also serves on the boards of BRAC Bank’s mobile financial services subsidiary, bKash, and Guardian Life Insurance. Additionally, he sits on the Microfinance Network Steering Committee and the World Economic Forum Financial Inclusion Steering Committee.
Prior to joining BRAC, Mr. Abed was a journalist and wrote primarily on political issues. Mr. Abed is a lawyer by training, having been made a barrister by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in London, UK. He completed his undergraduate studies at Hamilton College in the United States, majoring in economics and minoring in political science.
Peter Harlock - Global Director of Strategy, VisionFund International: Peter joined the VisionFund executive leadership team as Global Strategy Director in February 2011. The focus of his role is to guide and facilitate the development of strategy and implementation planning at VisionFund global, regional and country levels across 31 VisionFund MFI operations. He also takes the executive lead for both VisionFund’s Social Performance team and VisionFund’s engagement with World Vision and other partners in larger scale integrated smallholder farmer programs.
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.
Peter is married to an American from Seattle who he met in the Congo when he after university was working as local manager for a coffee company and she was a Peace Corps volunteer. He is currently based in London, and has two children in their twenties.
Tanmay Chetan - Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Agora Microfinance: Prior to founding Agora, an investor-operator that builds sustainable microfinance institutions in frontier markets, Tanmay served as the first CEO of AMK Cambodia during 2003-2007. His experience in microfinance also draws from the 6 years that he spent before that, at Micro-Credit Ratings International where he worked as an analyst, senior analyst and Team Leader. During this period he conducted and supervised over 120 credit ratings of MFIs in Asia.
His involvement in Agora has been focused on the creation and establishment of two institutions, in urban India (Mumbai) and rural Zambia. In addition Agora is also the promoter shareholder in AMK Cambodia, the country’s largest microfinance institution (MFI) in terms of client reach with almost 400,000 clients. AMK provides small loans, deposits, micro-insurance, money transfers and bill payments, through an extensive network including village level transactions, 2,500 mobile agents, 140 offices and ATMs and merchant kiosks. In his current role Tanmay manages the governance of the three investee MFIs and is closely engaged in the strategy development and oversight of partner MFIs. 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.
Mike Warmington - Microfinance Partnerships Director, One Acre Fund: Mike has worked in finance and microfinance for 10 years. He is currently Microfinance Partnerships Director for One Acre Fund, a social enterprise working with more than 800,000 farmers in East & Southern Africa. Mike helped establish One Acre Fund’s microfinance partnerships team and works with practitioners to crowd in competition and improve the quality and availability of smallholder finance services.
Prior to One Acre Fund, Mike held various operational roles, most recently at MicroLoan Foundation, a tier 2 MFI working in Malawi and Zambia. As Head of Operations Mike oversaw a challenging transition in the regulatory environment and significant increases in efficiency and sustainability. Before working in the financial inclusion sector, Mike spent 2 years as an analyst at Dexia Bank, a French-Belgian bank specializing in project finance. As an analyst he prepared due diligence and financial analysis for long-term debt supporting UK infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads.
Farmer photo credit: BRAC