And the winner is….!

European Best Practices Award 2009

The European Best Practices Microfinance Award run jointly by Giordano Dell’Amore Foundation and the European Microfinance Network aims at raising awareness of microfinance as tool to assist the economic initiative of excluded persons in Europe, sharing good and transferable practices in the field of microfinance, innovation and sustainability and promoting and spreading those good practices to other microfinance agencies in Europe. It is open for all European institutions or organizations involved in the delivery of microfinance and related services in the European Union Member, candidate and EFTA/EEA States, for at least 12 months from the date of application. The Award is endowed with 50,000 euros. The funds must be reinvested for the realisation of new projects or towards core costs of the existing services.

In 2009, 14 organisations submitted their proposals describing microfinance experiences in seven European countries. After having read, analysed and discussed each single proposal, the award committee selected five finalist candidates. Each of the five selected experiences offers an interesting approach and idea that could be transferred to similar situations. The five finalist institutions were:

Among the five candidates short-listed by the Scientific Committee, with the collaboration of a leading expert in microfinance, ACAF was chosen as the winner.

Founded in 2004 the Association for Self Financed Communities (ACAF) supports the creation of SFCs among poor people (mainly immigrants) and gives them technical assistance until they can operate autonomously. SFCs follow the “village bank” methodology: 10-40 members, self-managed, where members are owners and customers. ACAF works mainly in Catalonia and in four years has created 22 SFCs with more than 1,000 indirect beneficiaries.

Giordano Dell’Amore Foundation has published a document containing the summaries of the experiences of all the short-listed institutions (download the publication here).