In view of the current conditions in Syria, AKDN is presently focused on responding to the humanitarian crisis. As in all countries in which it works, AKDN takes a long-term view and remains committed to assisting the peoples of Syria to improve the quality of their lives.
AKDN began operating a microfinance programme in 2003, and in 2008, under the new microfinance decree, it incorporated First MicroFinance Institution Syria (FMFI-S) as a microfinance company and obtained a deposit-taking license.
Until the outbreak of conflict, AKDN's work spanned six major provinces (Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Lattakia, Sweida and Tartous), serving both rural and urban populations, and encompassing rural economic development, tourism and enterprise development, the strengthening of civil society organisations and the protection of cultural heritage.
Following FMFI-S’s establishment, other microfinance institutions opened including UNRWA’s Ebdaa Bank, and the National Institution for Microfinance, Al-Wataniya. The sector was thriving until the outbreak of the conflict, which led these institutions to stop operating completely. Operations were resumed at a rudimentary level as the security situation in the Damascus governorate became more stable towards the end of 2014.
FMFA-S is the only MFI that continued operations throughout the conflict as part of AKDN’s humanitarian response, providing clients access to savings services and financing for businesses and housing. Due to security challenges loan disbursements were suspended in Homs and Aleppo, while deposit services were maintained.
Since the onset of the crisis, FMFI has also partnered with local organisations to facilitate aid distribution projects such as cash assistance through savings accounts – providing immediate relief while promoting a culture of financial inclusion.