In 1995, twenty-five microfinance practitioners from three continents, viz., Asia, Africa, and Latin America established the International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions (INAFI) in Peru. It was registered under the Dutch law and primarily headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands. Currently INAFI International Secretariat is located in Dakar, Senegal. INAFI, a network of 300 NGOs/MFIs operating in three continents, continues to have twofold commitment to development; every INAFI members are highly dedicated to the eradication of the root causes of poverty and secondly, INAFI members are committed to implement individual programs. INAFI members are as distinct from each other as the countries they work in. They differ in context, outreach, service delivery mechanisms and structure. Some only provide microfinance services; others have added technical assistance and training programs, while others still manage integrated social development programs. Some provide direct financial intermediation while others assume promotional roles and support self-help groups and are putting them in contact with banks or other lending organizations.
INAFI’s International implements the international program and facilitates the activities of the continental activities through three regional secretariats: Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Each region is a semi-autonomous body, and has its own Executive Council and Executive Director. The Regional Secretariats manage the day-to-day operations in the countries of their region and facilitate the co-ordination among them as well as with the International Secretariat. INAFI Asia Secretariat is in Dhaka, Bangladesh. INAFI Asia however is downscaled by four national chapters: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Philippines.
INAFI Bangladesh Foundation, the national arm of the INAFI Asia network, shares the same philosophy as the international network with the primary objective to finding solutions for low-income people by creating effective and efficient access to the alternative financial and non-financial institutions through innovations. Since 2003 INAFI Bangladesh is working in the development field with the registration from NGO Affairs Bureau under the foreign Donation Act 1978 in 2003 and from Joint Stack Companies & Firms under the Societies Act XXI of 1860 in 2004. Activities in Bangladesh encompass capacity building of the NGOs/MFIs through tailor-made training, organising conferences, seminars, conducting social researches, evaluations, reviews. It also undertakes knowledge based research and product development through continuous Research and Development (R&D) initiatives with a particular focus on product innovations and best practices. It campaigns and lobbies with concerned stakeholders by building alliances with the local networks on certain specific issues that emerge as strategic issues and concerns for the sector. INAFI Bangladesh has been promoting “Inclusive Development” with provision of services providing Financial Inclusions, Social Inclusion and Adaptation to Climate and Environmental Change ensuring a sustainable livelihood. Presently INAFI Bangladesh has twenty eight Member Organisations and three Strategic Partners.