Founder & Managing Director’s Message

Dear Friends of Kashf,

As I reflect on the rollercoaster ride that was 2023, it’s clear that it was a year filled with countless local and global challenges. From socio-economic turbulence to macroeconomic shocks, natural disasters, and soaring food prices, the past year and a half has tested the resilience of our country. These hardships have had a domino effect on local businesses, especially small and medium entrepreneurs, though data collected from women-led enterprises has shown that many such micro-businesses have braced the storm by maintaining high profitability. I am incredibly inspired by the unwavering spirit of our clients. Despite the mounting obstacles, they continue to work tirelessly to provide for their families to forge a better future.

In the world of microfinance, the Kashf Foundation remains at the forefront by continuing to test new frontiers. We proudly introduced Pakistan’s first-ever “Gender Bond” to institutional investors in the capital market. The gender bond is a privately placed term finance certificate which links investors and mutual funds to women-led micro-enterprises, thus for the first time positioning women micro-entrepreneurs as an investable asset class within local capital markets. All these measures have enabled Kashf to close the year with an impressive active clientele of 727,226 and a remarkable portfolio worth PKR 26.62 Billion. Our efforts were recognized with a place among the top three finalists at the prestigious European Microfinance Award 2022 and Kashf secured the Best Innovative Business Award at the Pakistan Banking Awards 2022. While the significance of women-focused microfinance cannot be overstated, Kashf is committed to enhancing its impact by offering a range of complementary services. These include life, health, and livestock insurance, financial literacy programs, business management and vocational skills training, and social advocacy through mediums like drama and mainstream media.

In the past two years alone, we have trained over 110,000 clients in financial management, graduated nearly 9,000 women from our business Accelerator Training Program, and provided maternal and reproductive health education to thousands of women, mothers-in-law and men. Additionally, Kashf Foundation’s television drama series, Kuch Ankahi, which aired in January 2023, garnered accolades as one of Pakistan’s most socially impactful dramas. Through intelligent comedy, romance, and strong female characters, the series addressed issues such as limited professional opportunities for women, property inheritance, body shaming, minority rights, and sexual harassment that women face at all levels.

In closing, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our Board members, supporters, and the entire Kashf team for their unwavering support, dedication, and resilience in helping us fulfil our mission and vision. I would like to commend our field teams, particularly our Business Development Officers, who have shown remarkable diligence in the face of growing economic challenges and turmoil. I would also like to extend my thanks to the international and local lenders who have supported our work and enabled us to expand our horizons. With your continued support, we look forward to achieving our vision of financial inclusion and making a lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals in the future.

Roshaneh Zafar
Founder & Managing Director
Kashf Foundation