Women Financial Inclusion champions awarded scholarships

May 19, 2017

Seema Shandil Suva, Fiji  – The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) has today announced the 2017 Reuben James Summerlin Scholarships have been awarded to three Pacific women in recognition of their demonstrated passion and commitment to financial inclusion in the Pacific.

The scholarships were open to PFIP’s partner financial institutions in the Pacific to send nominated staff to attend a three-week course at the prestigious Boulder Institute of Microfinance Training Program (the world’s premier financial inclusion and microfinance program) from July 14th to August 4th 2017 in Turin, Italy. A total of 16 applications were received from three countries.

The awardees are:

  • Ms. Seema Shandil, Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) – Fiji
  • Ms. Alva Boso, Bank South Pacific (BSP) – Solomon Islands
  • Ms. Julie Haro, Premiere Group of Companies Ltd (PGCL)– Solomon Islands

Ms. Shandil, Manager of Research & Product Development at FNPF said “For sustained and inclusive development to thrive, a great deal of innovation and thinking is needed to ensure that appropriate financial services are put in place for the benefit of poor and vulnerable, hence the training would be an appropriate medium for me to acquire and develop skills and knowledge to effectively impart financial literacy to the needy”.

Ms. Boso, Agent Network Officer at BSP said “This Scholarship opportunity will further bring more skills for me to support our customers one way or the other through microfinance and financial Inclusion. I would use this opportunity to continue to improve our branchless banking services and our retail services so that those living in remote areas can have full access to banking and microfinance necessities.”

“It is my passion to assist our people to participate in digital financial services,” she added.

Ms. Haro, Managing Director of PGCL, agent network manager for ANZ Bank added “For me attending the training is very important, because I do not only represent my Company doing the financial inclusion work in the country, but also the Vice President of Solomon Islands Women in Business, where I represent the number of women and girls voices to be heard, from our membership and general context.”

The intensive program brings together world renowned experts in microfinance and financial inclusion, with the objective of equipping professionals with practical tools for innovative financial inclusion from across the globe.

The scholarship was established in 2016 in honour of PFIP’s former Programme Manager, Reuben Summerlin, in keeping with his passion for capacity building and education.

Rueben Summerlin joined the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in 2012 to manage PFIP.  During this time in office, he expanded PFIP’s activities in both scale and scope, overseeing the fastest expansion in financial services the region has ever seen.

Mr. Summerlin passed away on July 6th 2015 in Fiji after a tragic biking accident.


About PFIP

PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped 1.5 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.

PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands.  It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.


For more information or media inquiries please contact:
Erica Lee – Communications Associate   Phone: +679 3227538    Email: Erica.lee@undp.org     Website: http://www.pfip.org