Iwan Saktiawan

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2002
Yayasan PERAMU


This profile was prepared when Iwan Saktiawan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Iwan has adapted Islamic banking principles and microcredit best practices to create a viable new banking model to assist small traders and low-income producers. He is testing an approach that encourages asset development among low-income people through education in effective savings strategies and economic management. Iwan has introduced critical improvements in a model called Baitul Maal watTamil (BMT), which is currently in use in Indonesia. BMT relies on agreements between the lending institutions and the small-scale business borrowers to form a partnership and share in profits and losses. Such a relationship requires that partners both share an equally sophisticated knowledge of the business and respect the necessity of transparent, open communication. Because most iterations of BMT lack the measures that ensure fair management and transparency, the model fails in practice, leaving many users disgruntled or cheated.
To overcome the problems of the BMT model, Iwan has introduced key improvements. Through his approach, the BMT is owned by members of the local community, and individual savings groups are linked in a network that facilitates specialized administrative functions such as research and development, data analysis, and staff training, while individual institutions retain their autonomy. In addition, Iwan and his staff educate and advise customers on how to manage their own business and household finances.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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