Background

In 2002, nine microfinance institutions and programs shared the belief in the power unity creates, and realized the need to establish a networking body that coordinates, represents and provides services to active MFIs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2004, the Palestinian Network for Small & Microfinance (herein referred to as “Sharakeh”) was registered as a non-governmental not-for-profit organization at the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, under the registration number RA-22248-B. Its by-laws were set, goals and strategies discussed and agreed upon, and the efforts started to tailor activities in order to reach these goals. The original microfinance institutions and programs who took it upon themselves to establish the organization were ASALA, ACAD, FATEN, UNRWA\MMD, ANERA, PARC, CHF, PDF & YMCA, in addition to Al Ameen company in the Gaza Strip, who later on ended membership due to its registration as a for-profit company, which contradicts Sharakeh’s by-laws.  

Since establishment, Sharakeh launched a service delivery program that aims to improve member MFIs’ performance and assist them reach their overall goal of poverty reduction. The Palestinian economy depends largely on micro and small businesses that are considered part of the most vital pillars for economic advancement. During the past 3 years services provided to members revolved around building the capacities of MFIs and their branches on senior operations and financial levels, as well as branch managers and loan officers levels, raising awareness to available credit by the use of different multi-media tools, enhancing competition among members, and among micro entrepreneurs, to provide incentives to enhance performance and hence develop the industry at large. Moreover, Sharakeh participates in different local, regional and international events to introduce the Palestinian microfinance industry to the public.

Sharakeh strives to translate its mission by becoming the only representative of the Palestinian Microfinance industry on all levels, by formulating and advocating strategies and policies to attain a competitive enabling environment for the microfinance industry, and by building the capacities of its member’s entities according to international best practice standards.