By Larry Reed
Director, Microcredit Summit Campaign
Lea en español (traducido por Google) *** Lisez en français (traduit par Google)
Poverty has many dimensions, and those seeking to leave poverty find themselves hemmed in by many constraints.
Success in alleviating poverty requires that people in poverty have access to a variety of tools that allow them to address the constraints and threats and make the most of the opportunities that they encounter on their journey. Providing those tools in turn requires different actors, such as civil society, the private sector, and NGOs, with a wide range of skill sets and resources to join forces in partnership.
Assessing the change in the level of poverty in a population as a way to measure the success of development efforts has often led to disappointment because they do not take into account the various factors that stand in the way. National governments are often surprised to find that, after decades of investments, poverty levels have not improved. Microfinance institutions that measure the poverty levels of their clients over time often find that the journey out of poverty takes much longer than expected—and is filled with many more setbacks—than they had originally thought.
Because we often measure the success of our projects by indicators specific to the intervention (loan repayments, percentage of live births, etc.) we can be surprised to step back and find that meeting our targets did not lead to lower levels of poverty.
At the 2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit, we will examine programs that work at the local, national, and international level with an eye to learning how they are bringing about reductions in the levels of severe poverty.
We will look at how Conditional Cash Transfer systems in Latin America have been tied to essential social services and microfinance to help people begin their journey out of poverty. We will examine the move in many countries to use digital transactions to expand financial inclusion, and highlight those programs which show how financial inclusion can lead to poverty reduction. We will review programs from many countries that deliver needed social services like health care, nutrition, and education through the same channels developed to provide financial services.
In Colombia, the Proyecto Gradución program links conditional cash transfers to millions of families living in poverty with asset building services such as savings and financial capabilities training.
In Kenya, government regulators have created a space for mobile cash transfers, which have greatly increased access to finance for those living in rural areas through mobile phone providers and their agents.
In the Philippines, new insurance regulations allowed MicroEnsure, working with local insurance agencies, to develop crop insurance for rural farmers. We will study linkages in rural areas that tie small scale producers to national and international value chains, and explore how finance providers have found ways to address other social issues that keep their clients in poverty, like health, education, housing and access to markets.
Who should come to this Summit?
If you are working to reduce poverty in your country, and in our world at large, you should come. If you would like to share stories of success and what you learned from failure, you should come. If you would like to learn from what others are doing, you should come.
You will hear from heads of state such as the Presidents of the Philippines and Indonesia (invited), cabinet ministers including the country’s Minister of Finance (invited), and the Governor of the Bank of the Philippines (confirmed). You can expect business leaders from international payments providers, mobile phone companies and agribusiness (invited), microfinance pioneers including Professor Muhammad Yunus, Roshaneh Zafar, and Aris Alip (all confirmed), as well as people working in the trenches, struggling to find the right combinations to make things work. You will also have plenty of time to get to know your fellow participants and explore opportunities for partnerships that could help enhance the effectiveness of your own initiatives.
Another group who should come to this Summit is those business executives who want to learn more about how they can successfully market to or purchase from people with very low incomes. You will learn from other business leaders how they have developed systems and models that enabled them not only to sell at an appropriate price point for those in poverty, but how that led to a mindset that made their entire operations more efficient. You will also learn from partnerships between businesses, microfinance providers, and NGOs that allow the business to work with access to products or markets at very low costs.
This Summit will give you the chance to think about your work and how it fits into the challenge of eliminating severe poverty both at the national and international level. And it will give you the opportunity to find partners who will work with you in that challenge.
You can start participating now in preparing for this event.
- Go here to register. (Same link for French and Spanish)
- Go here to give your ideas for sessions or speakers that you would like to see at the Summit. (French and Spanish)
- Go here to learn about how you could become a sponsor of the Summit. (French and Spanish)
We’re looking forward to seeing you in Manila!