Packard Foundation Program Related Investment
Beginning in 2001, with support from the USDA and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, PfD leveraged microfinance to deliver a targeted behavior change campaign. This program provided microloans to over 90,000 women, addressing critical issues such as family planning, birth spacing, mater¬nity care, newborn care & feeding, and post-partum care. PfD engages with com¬munity leaders and key influential groups to help perpetuate the program’s core messages on reproductive health and practices, shifting the responsibility to the entire community rather than allowing the responsibility to continue to rest solely on the women residing within these communities.
In April 2009, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation and Partners for Development (PfD) granted PfD a $1.5 million Program-Related Investment. PfD used this loan capital to implement microfinance activities in several Nigerian states through nine Nigerian microfinance institutions (MFI); they, in turn, distributed small loans to local individuals and groups to support agricultural and petty trading initiatives. This approach allowed PfD to remain lean while engaging qualified Nigerian organizations, utilizing their local knowledge and networks and enhancing their skills in loan and organizational management.
Separately in Nigeria and from 2001-2011, PfD had secured from the Foundation five different reproductive health grants. Thus, from the PRI’s inception in 2009 PfD integrated the two programs: it disseminated RH and family planning information to women of reproductive age through borrower groups. With the PRI capital, PfD:
- Oversaw the issue of over 77,000 small loans of about $300 average size, mainly to women (93%).
- Multiplied overall lending to end-borrowers by more than 15 times: total loan volume in the five year period was $23,409,123.
- Integrate microfinance and reproductive health and family planning programming into its other programs, such as Alive & Thrive, TSHIP, and EASE, reaching over 42,000 microloan beneficiaries with important health information.
The Packard Foundation’s support was integral in PfD’s ability to participate in research on breastfeeding promotion with UNC-Chapel Hill. A study completed in 2014 by UNC researchers in partnership with PfD concluded in The Journal of Nutrition that women receiving training in microfinance are nearly 50% more likely to exclusively breast feed at six months (64% of respondents) versus those mothers not involved in microfinance (43% of respondents).