Who knew the amazing number of people, industries, and international issues that could be linked to microcredit and microfinance? Not me, until I had an internship at Microcredit Summit Campaign (MCS). In researching prospective partners and sponsors, I came across investment management companies, legal firms, commercial banks, sustainable energy entrepreneurs, academics, and all manner of philanthropists with some degree of interest in microfinance.
I realized that microfinance was not an end in itself or even only about the accessibility of small loans to those living in poverty. It seems to be a means by which many different stakeholders can achieve their goals. Socially conscious investors and business developers are attracted by the double bottom-line – financial profit and desirable social impact. To help guide those with resources to most effectively reach those without, evaluation and rating of microfinance institutions has become a new specialization. Clients first engaged by microloans may now have access to savings accounts and insurance, services that diversify even further the number of entities with a connection to microfinance.
Thanks to MCS for an internship opportunity that opened my eyes and expanded my view of microcredit.