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Livelihoods and Inclusive Finance Expansion (LIFE)

Livelihoods and Inclusive Finance Expansion (LIFE)

The purpose of the LIFE project is to improve economic opportunities and livelihoods of low income individuals and microenterprises in Lebanon by expanding and strengthening microfinance expanding and strengthening the services provided by the Lebanese Micro-Finance Association (LMFA) and member institutions, as well as enhancing the business skills of entrepreneurs. To this end, LIFE will improve livelihoods, strengthen microfinance activities and advance financial inclusion in Lebanon.  Inclusive Finance, also referred to as financial inclusion, is defined as “universal access to a broad range of financial services, at a reasonable cost, provided by a diversity of sound and sustainable institutions.” LIFE will consolidate the gains made under the Lebanon Investment in Microfinance Program (LIM) and expand inclusive finance to the unbanked and higher-risk, micro business clientele.

The LIFE project is comprised of three components: 

Component 1: Inclusive Finance

Inclusive finance will elevate the microfinance discourse by bringing about key policy and institutional changes with the potential to transform the financial inclusion landscape – a proven approach for developing a vibrant, sustainable microfinance sector and economically empowering the unbanked, low-income, and underserved micro clientele; 

Component 2) Microcredit

Microcredit that will strengthen the capacity of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and the Lebanese Microfinance Association (LMFA) to increase their range of products and services and expand their reach of borrowers to include microenterprises with an emphasis on higher-risk, conflict affected areas (areas where economic pressures and social tensions have increased significantly as a result of the high influx of refugees), including new, unbanked, and existing microenterprises, and low-income women-headed households.  LIFE will provide customized business management training, technical know-how, mentoring, basic business development skills, and new lending products to the MFI’s current and potential clientele; and

3) Livelihoods

Livelihoods that will provide grant support and basic business training to microenterprises and individuals that are excluded from the financial ecosystem and economic value chains, but because of lack of collateral and steady income or revenues, are considered too high of a credit risk to qualify for microcredit from the MFIs.  The purpose of these grants, along with business development services, is to give these microenterprises the chance to grow and become potential MFI clients.   This group includes high risk rural poor, including unemployed or low income women, youth and the physically impaired and certain microenterprises.  

SEEP’s Role

The SEEP Network’s role it to develop and strengthen the capacity of the LMA. SEEP will carry out the NCAT assessment of the LMFA, developing an institutional strengthening plan (ISP), and awarding a grant to the association to support institution building. SEEP will train LMFA using its Policy Advocacy Toolkit to further build the association’s capacity to analyze, prioritize, communicate, act on, and monitor microfinance policy. Lastly, SEEP will provide additional TA packages to LMFA to strengthen organizational capacity, develop demand-driven services, and promote transparent and competitive business environments

Explore the NCAT 5.1 Tool

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