FEATURED: Journalists urged to play role in promoting responsible and inclusive financing

One of the awarded journalists Michel Nkurunziza takes a photo with Aimable Nkuranga, the Executive Director of AMIR.

The Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) has urged journalists to write articles that promote the implementation of consumer-protection principles in microfinance institutions. The call was made during the Responsible Finance Reporting Award ceremony that took place, on Tuesday January 22, at Park Inn Radisson.

A total of 48 journalists were trained and 26 submitted stories of which three best stories from three media houses were awarded. Those awarded were Nkuruziza Michel from The New Times, Habimana Jean Claude from Salus Radio and Cyubahiro Bonaventure of TV 10.

While presiding over the ceremony, the Guest of Honor, Peacemaker Mbungiramihigo, the Media High Council Executive Secretary, said the cooperation to strengthen journalist’s capacity should continue so that media houses play their role in driving the implementation of development projects.

AMIR has been cementing its relationship with the media sector by providing professional training courses to journalists, to keep them abreast of financial trends in regard to consumer protection and education. Consumer-protection principles are designed to allow customers to derive greater economic benefits from financial services while promoting trust and transparency in the sector.

They include appropriate product design and delivery, prevention of over-indebtedness, transparency, responsible pricing, fair and respectful treatment of clients, privacy of client data, and mechanisms for complaint resolution.

Scaling up the application of consumer protection principles for low-income financial service customers is supported under the initiative dubbed “Responsible Finance through Local Leadership and Learning Program (RFL3)” being implemented by the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Rwanda (AMIR) in collaboration with SEEP Network and the MasterCard Foundation.

Aimable Nkuranga, the Executive Director of AMIR, said that microfinance institutions should deliver services that are inclusive and help consumers to develop themselves instead of falling back into poverty. “It is not interesting to see a client of a bank acquiring a loan and then finally falling back into poverty instead of progressing because of financial institutions that do not respect consumer-protection principles. Customers must be aware of their rights so that institutions ensure transparency in their services,” he said.