The strategy of Zakoura Microcredit Foundation has been, from the beginning, to hire its credit agents in the locations where it is present. This has allowed the Foundation to be closer to its beneficiaries, while also creating jobs. In 2006, Zakoura is still locally recruiting credit agents, while at the same time reinforcing and growing the staff at the headquarters. A main goal of the institution is to have a unique operational management.
Today, with more than 227,964 beneficiaries and about 1,057 permanent employees in the field, Zakoura Foundation’s operations are decentralized in five regions, thus allowing the Foundation to develop at a faster pace.
Each regional office includes a regional manager and two administrative assistants and each branch office includes a branch head and seven credit agents (as a maximum). The branch head is also in charge of the management of all individual loans. The recruitment and management of human resources are largely decentralized inside the regional offices.
The headquarters of the Zakoura Foundation, located in Casablanca, employs today 100 persons, including 10 at the Mofida audiovisual department (in charge of awareness-raising campaigns). The distribution of the Foundation’s staff between field and headquarters shows Zakoura’s commitment in favor of a field program. 92% of their staff are credit agents, branch heads and regional managers.
The management team includes the General Manager, the Head Financial Officer, an Operations Manager, the Internal Audit Manager, the Development Manager, the IT Manager, the HR head and the Internal and External Communication head.
To assure a better service, the Foundation has created a training unit inside of the HR department. This unit aims at delivering, monitoring and evaluating the initial training and refresher courses for the staff. The theoretical initial training, both inside the classroom and hands-on, is ensured for all people joining the institution as well as any person entrusted with new responsibilities. Given the constant increase in staff, the initial training sessions are increasingly frequent. An initial training for a new credit agent lasts 4 weeks: one week in the classroom on microcredit procedures, communication and management of the credit portfolio, and 3 weeks of hands-on training. For a new branch head, it lasts 2 weeks. About a dozen refresher courses are also held and managed by Zakoura. This training targets all the field and headquarters staff and aim to develop the skills of the participants in different fields.