Utilizing the West Africa Investment Partnership, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) will forge collaboration among among microfinance institutions (MFIs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and NGOs by investing in their efforts and working side-by-side to build capacity and learning between and among them. Through a tripartite relationship between LWR, NGO/CBOs, and MFIs, LWR will invest in sustainable development solutions by building on what already exists. This investment partnership among LWR, NGO/CBOs, and MFIs makes the most of capital investment by leveraging each partner's strengths in a way that also builds capacity (technical, financial, administrative, managerial, and governance) and sustainability. LWR has been working in West Africa for over thirty years and has local partners in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
The West Africa Investment Partnership Initiative (IPI) will allow LWR's partners to connect to lending institutions previously beyond their reach; access funds in the form of a loan; and increase their own capacity to manage funds. Through IPI, LWR's work with a local microfinance institution will allow the organization to have more adequate and stable funds to make larger and more long term loans; increase their administrative and financial capacity to administer loans; connect with clients (i.e. our CBO partners) that were previously out of their range due to level of poverty, lack of capacity and/or other accessibility issues; and build their own capital base and thereby their sustainability.
Though community solutions and assets exist in West Africa, community organizations face a chronic lack of capital, market information, and access and overall capacity building. Often community-based organizations (CBOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with limited funds can focus only on their own projects, lacking the resources to coordinate and strategize to leverage their strengths. In addition, many groups working in the field are finding increasing community fatigue with donor-funded projects and the lack of sustainable solutions. Despite these and other obstacles, community-based organizations, intermediary agencies, and microfinance institutions (MFIs) are continuing to deepen and enrich a growing civil society in many countries in West Africa and improving socio-economic conditions.