Research on Ecuador’s digital platform to be featured at 18th Microcredit Summit


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The Microcredit Summit Campaign, as part of its 6 Pathways, is helping to highlight ways that digital platforms are helping to expand financial inclusion, especially for the extreme poor. We are pleased to share with you this Executive Summary of their research.

At the 18th Microcredit Summit this research will be included in the breakout session “The Digital Revolution and Financial Inclusion.” We hope to see you there!

>> Authored by Jorge Moncayo and Marcos Reis.

Financial systems have a vital role in national economies. They provide savings, credit, payment, and risk management products to society. In this sense, inclusive financial systems — those with a high share of individuals and firms that use financial services — are especially likely to benefit poor people and other disadvantaged groups. On the contrary, poor people must rely on their limited savings to invest in their education or become entrepreneurs. In addition, small enterprises must rely on their limited earnings to pursue promising growth opportunities (Demirguc-Kunt and Klapper, 2012).

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World Bank report documents progress on poverty reduction and path ahead for Ethiopia



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>>Authored by Jesse Marsden, Research and Operations Manager

The World Bank released a report in January about the progress made on poverty reduction in Ethiopia between 2000 and 2011, and it described what will be needed to end extreme poverty by 2030. Given our program with MasterCard Foundation in 2014 (see this post summarizing the “Innovations in Social Protection” program) this was of particular interest to us.

The Campaign is also increasingly focused on understanding how 6 key financial inclusion pathways are showing great promise in contributing to the end of extreme poverty.

The report suggests that Ethiopia’s concerted, collaborative, and well-supported poverty reduction effort has been a success story with remarkable results. In 2000, 56 percent of the population lived below the World Bank extreme poverty line of $1.25 a day PPP. By 2011, that rate had fallen a dramatic 25 points to 31 percent of the population. It is good to see too that the Bank report also covers non-income indicators, noting that as compared to 2000, by 2011 most Ethiopians had better health, education, and living standards as well as improved life expectancy. Access to basic services improved by double (meaning electricity and water in the home).

The report notes that this rate of progress is uncommon on the continent and is second only to the rate of poverty reduction seen in Uganda over the same period. It also seems that the right places received the attention needed. That is to say that regions with higher rates of poverty saw some of the most dramatic declines, particularly citing Tigray where the Campaign visited during our field visit in 2014.

In places where dramatic growth like this takes place, one of the oft noted concerns is that the gains from improvements are being felt by a limited segment of the population (usually those who were better off already). One of the most impressive statitstics concerning the poverty reduction seen in Ethiopia is that during this period the already low inequality level was maintained.

Success factors

So what has been at the heart of this progress? The report cites a wide range of factors, accurately reflecting the multi-faceted nature of poverty reduction efforts. It is worth noting however that the report does accredit the greatest share of poverty reduction having resulted mainly from a single sector, namely the rural, self-employed, agriculture sector. While factors such as consistently good rainfall and high food prices have played a positive role, the report notes the importance of some more intentional efforts.

The Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) launched in 2005 (and a key part of our visit in 2014) has played an important role in poverty reduction by both directly reducing poverty rates by 2 percent as well as contributing indirectly through increasing agriculture input use and thereby increasing productivity. In addition, public investment has been “central” to the government development strategy and “redistribution has been an important contributor to poverty reduction.”

Ethiopia bases public spending decisions on a central and publicly accessible Growth and Transformation Plan. This strategy places primary importance on sectors crucial to poverty reduction including food security, education, health, roads, and access to water. With this plan in place since 2005 (concurrent with the launch of PSNP) public investments in social protection, agriculture and food security, and access to basic services have been key drivers of poverty reduction in Ethiopia.

Getting to zero extreme poverty

Where do we go from here? 31 percent of the population living below the extreme poverty line is still a huge extreme poverty rate. Based on our visits with policymakers and program implementers on the ground in Ethiopia last year, it is apparent that a continued focus on maintaining and expanding the gains seen from 2000 to 2011 in poverty reduction remain a central focus of key actors in Ethiopia now 3-4 years later.

The report says the future of poverty reduction will rest on as many different areas of work as it took to achieve the progress so far. The strategy presented seems to come down to a dual focus on increasing employment and economic opportunity in urban areas, and increasing agricultural production in rural regions. This is a very simplified presentation of a nuanced and complex set of approaches laid out in the report.

We are also encouraged by how well many of the recommendations echo what we saw on the ground in 2014 as well as what we seem to be seeing emerging as some of the key interventions for financial inclusion that will help end extreme poverty. One recommendation of particular note was for programs to move from a geographical approach for interventions (say, targeting a state or region) to one targeting a condition. The PSNP already works in this fashion as the program targets those meeting the definition of “food insecure” rather than organizing its deployment based on location.

Public works under the PSNP

Public works under the PSNP

One of the six pathways the Campaign is focused on is agricultural finance and value chain improvements. The Bank report points to the need for Ethiopia to continue strong support of agricultural production as a key driver of future poverty reductions. The PSNP program which included a public works component to increase access to irrigation and reduce arable land erosion. Additionally, the R4 program addresses weather related shocks and other agricultural risks, mentioned specifically in the report, through both avenues of response to events after they occur as well as preventative measures to mitigate the negative effects of future events.

We think it would be important for operators such as REST, one of the NGO implementers of the PSNP, to increase their activities around building the capacity of female farms managers to generate higher returns from their activities. In addition, the government should investigate how, though national-level programming, it can also support increased attention and support for female farm managers. Citing potential causes such as poor access to land or agricultural inputs, the report points out that female-managed farms produce 23 percent less than male managed farms. Ending extreme poverty will require addressing this gender discrepancy through policies that foster changes in institutional behavior and gender norms. This can be led perhaps by investigating how an add-on benefit to PSNP could be an agent for this change.

The report also supports the continuance and even growth of the use of social safety nets (such as cash transfers). It looks closely at the difference between indirect transfers via subsidies to producers of certain basic needs and direct transfers to the actual individuals. It ultimately recommends that spending on subsidies would have a great impact on poverty reduction if they were converted to direct transfers. The Campaign has pointed to greater use of technology to increase access to financial tools such as savings accounts, and groups like the Better Than Cash Alliance are also showing the power of using digital payments by governments.

Given Ethiopia’s still-limited mobile network infrastructure, making use of a digital payments platform to more accurately and cost-effectively deliver direct transfers may still be years away. However, we feel that building this infrastructure as a means to utilizing technology in its poverty reduction strategies will be important and should have received some attention in the report. Such a platform would support the report’s dual urban-rural approach since transfer programs exist both in urban and rural areas. Farmers can also receive information on market prices through mobile devices, thus enabling them to sell their products at the optimal profit. This can positively impact areas the report considers important, namely agricultural production, payment for inputs, and access to employment opportunities. We think this is an area missed by the report.

The report also places a great deal of emphasis on fostering employment in urban areas, noting that urban poverty in Addis Ababa tracks employment rates. While the report notes that employment won’t fully address urban poverty on its own, increasing such opportunities for the urban poor and self-employed is important. The report recommends decreasing the costs and barriers to migrating from rural to urban centers and supporting the entry and growth of firms who have the capacity to hire many employees.

Where the report suggests increased support will contribute to poverty reduction is in supporting self-employment in non-agricultural work. BRAC’s graduation model, one of the six pathways we recommend as a financial inclusion intervention key to ending extreme, can help. We spoke with graduates of REST’s graduation program in 2014, and it was clear to us that the program has had positive impacts. Now those anecdotes are backed up by evidence of the effectiveness of the graduation approach, not least of which are the recent set of studies published in Science a few weeks ago. They demonstrate the positive outcomes from the graduation approach, highlighting its importance as a financial inclusion pathway that is working well.

REST supports positive outcomes for its graduation participants by providing access to market research. Participants thus understand what kinds of income-generating activities have a better likelihood to succeed in their given location. Moreover, the graduation model concludes with a direct transfer that does not require a participant to choose self-employment over employment, allowing for perhaps the kind of flexibility the report might recommend — particularly in an urban setting.

The fifth financial inclusion intervention that the Campaign sees as key to ending extreme poverty is savings (and savings groups in particular as they are often able to reach persons banks can’t or won’t.) However, savings is markedly absent from the report. There is some discussion of addressing the ability for individuals to more easily liquidate assets such as land in order to facilitate urban migration, but little is mentioned concerning savings as a means to build an asset base and whether this can be a driver of poverty reduction in the future for Ethiopia.

We know from our visit that REST graduation participants are connected to formal savings accounts as well as financial capacity building resources to support them in making the most of those accounts. So we were surprised to see a discussion of asset building — savings in particular — so absent from the report. We think this should be an additional area of focus for poverty reduction strategies going forward.

Savings as a strategic element could be important to pursue in tandem with supporting the growth of the mobile network infrastructure since there are cost savings to be realized with providing mobile-based savings platforms. Savings incentives and programs could also be tied to the cash transfers of PSNP or the other safety net initiatives in Ethiopia. Savings accounts could become the landing point for those transfers on a future digital cash transfer platform.

Our recommendations

As a whole, we find the report extremely thorough concerning the approaches it covered and very much tied to the experience seen on the ground — as least in so far as our limited view into programs in Ethiopia from our Innovations in Social Protection program affords us. Of the six financial inclusion areas the Campaign sees as key to ending extreme poverty, three (agricultural finance and value chains, conditional and cash transfers, and the graduation approach) are mentioned in detail in the reports assessment of what will be needed to end extreme poverty in Ethiopia. We think that graduation programs can be a key response to the report’s recommendation to build opportunities for self-employment in non-agricultural activities.

Further consideration, however, should be given to the potential for digital technology platforms to play a powerful role in facilitating and improving the cash transfer programs. Though, Ethiopia will need to improve its telecommunications infrastructure to make this a possibility. Savings also has a role to play in supporting individuals’ ability to build an asset base which will help them seize opportunities and resist vulnerabilities. By linking cash transfers on digital platforms to savings accounts, this also can be an important part of Ethiopia’s financial inclusion strategies in the future.

How relationships with telcos are helping achieve financial inclusion

African market

“Unless we can understand that — unless we can start from the viewpoint of what the customer needs,” explains Richard Leftley, CEO of MicroEnsure, “then it’s not sufficient to just provide access to these financial services, they actually have to be tailored around the needs of the customers.” (Photo credit: MicroEnsure)

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>>Authored by Richard Leftley, CEO, MicroEnsure

A period of reflection

Read MicroEnsure’s Commitment letter
Read their announcement blog post

When considering our commitments for the Microcredit Summit Campaign last year, I wanted to address the very real key issues faced by middle-to-low income families across Africa when bad things happen to them. I wanted to work towards providing some kind of safety-net to help ensure they don’t fall into poverty when these events occur.

With that in mind, we committed to reaching 10 million customers with insurance services and expanding our reach into 15 countries over the course of the year. This, I felt, would be a suitably significant commitment to make, one that would show just how serious we as a company take this issue and reflect the level of work we are putting in.

Twelve months on and I’m reflecting on some astonishing numbers. MicroEnsure is now serving over 15 million customers and has a presence in 17 countries globally; this is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination, especially when you consider that we are growing at a rate of 1 million new customers every month.

Needs, not assumptions

At MicroEnsure we’ve been really lucky to work with some large organisations — some really large partners — organisations like Airtel. We found that partnership is the best way to provide access to the working poor because it enables us to significantly reduce the costs of selling and administering these policies on behalf of the poor.

I think a lot of us have assumed that people just need access to financial services and that if as “an industry” we come along and provide access, then that that’s sufficient — it’s enough just to provide access.

Actually, if you think about the way it’s presented, “the financial inclusion landscape” is about including people and that, somehow, that will meet the needs that they have.

In reality, I think that we have to go one step further than that; we need to understand what it is that consumers need, what are the risks that they face in their everyday lives, and how do they want to deal with those risks?

Unless we can understand that — unless we can start from the viewpoint of what the customer needs — then it’s not sufficient to just provide access to these financial services, they actually have to be tailored around the needs of the customers.

Reflecting on these numbers, it prompted me to think about how all this has been possible in what really is such a short period of time.

Creating access

What’s certain is that access to the products we offer is a need and not a wish. When we visited the countries and the communities we were trying to help, we started to understand what low-income customers can afford, and started to get the costs in line with that price point.

Mobile phone menuWe immediately thought of distribution via mobile networks, eliminating the high cost of insurance sales reps and making our offering more obtainable. Mobile telecom is ubiquitous in Africa and Asia, and telecommunications companies (or “telcos”) have “mobile wallet” apps like M-Pesa, Easypaisa, and Airtel Money that allow users to transfer money to one another via mobile phones. We figured that if we put our product in the mobile wallet — and made it even more affordable by offering payments in small installments– low-income families would enrol. Not so. One potential customer even told us, “It’s easier to sign up and pay in small installments, but I don’t trust insurance!”

Furthermore, it was hard to figure out which mobile wallet to appear in, as most mobile users had multiple SIM cards for multiple networks and spread their airtime minute purchases, or “top ups,” across them all.

Another access issue cropped up early: the need for product adaptation. We had to make sure that there were no complicated instructions or processes, but intuitive ones that fit with the way low-income people proceed about their lives. And, the benefits have to be readily apparent if someone is risking scarce resources on them.

In our case, we noticed that even when we did get insurance into the hands of a low-income family, they weren’t taking full advantage of it. We had to strip down the typical insurance process — filling out detailed forms, providing personal information — and create a simpler, easy-to-follow process for enrolling, which meant registering via text rather than a paper form. For claims, we decided to accept an imam’s word as proof of a death, or a claim written on a napkin, and we had to turn them around fast. We paid health insurance claims, via mobile transfers, in as short as one hour. Once initial customers saw the product working — quickly receiving benefits when they filed claims — word travelled.

Airtel claim 3

Photo credit: MicroEnsure

Rewarding relationships

Whilst we know that no one really wakes up in the morning thinking about — or wanting to buy — insurance, they do wake up worrying about the risks and problems they face should something happen to them. We also know that mobile phone companies have a problem in terms of customer loyalty in these markets, with many consumers often switching between different mobile phone networks.

The opportunity therefore presented itself for us to develop relationships with key telco companies in Africa and Asia, relationships that allowed us to try the idea of giving away free insurance in return for customer loyalty; if the customer remains loyal to the network, then they get access to free insurance.

We used behavioural economics to help us understand why someone would change their behaviour; what would be the driving force to make someone decide that actually now is the time to buy insurance, usually for the first time in their life. We needed to understand what the alternatives are, and understanding that actually the alternatives — indeed our greatest competitor…is doing nothing.

So, in many of the markets we work in, we have been able to provide something more compelling to consumers than just doing nothing, and this has really helped us to rethink the way in we’re going to engage with the consumer.

We realised that mobile phone companies actually had an issue with loyalty, so we convinced them that they should give away free insurance alongside airtime purchases so that the more customers spent with their network, the more free insurance they received.

What happened was that customers really enjoyed these products. They do wake up worrying about the risks they face, and if someone was willing to mitigate those risks, for free, then they were willing to change their consumer behaviour.

We found that customers started spending more and more of their airtime reload on those networks that offered free insurance. So when people come along with very simple products that are easy to understand, easy to access through a brand that customers trust — whether that-s their bank or their mobile phone company — and that financial access is made extremely easy, as easy as buying a ringtone, then there is a phenomenal demand and interest in having insurance.

This is especially true if this insurance can be offered free of charge, as a promotion that shows people how it works, that claims will be paid and paid quickly, and that the products do work for them. We’re finding that millions of people are coming forward and saying that, now they see that the product works, then they are willing to pay a small amount to keep that product and even add members of their family to it.

For the mobile phone companies, this not only increases customer volumes, but more importantly, it improves customer retention rates, creating a rewarding relationship for all involved.

Related reading

MicroEnsure launched a Campaign Commitment in 2014! We invite you also to…

Get Inspired. Set a Goal. Make a Commitment.

Join the movement to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty:

Why I Commit…Child & Youth Finance International

The Campaign sat down with commitment makers at the 17th Microcredit Summit and asked them what making a commitment meant to them. Hear what those leaders had to say in the “Why I Commit…” video series.

Jared Penner, Education Manager, Child & Youth Finance International

See what CYFI Committed to in 2015

Be Inspired. Set Goals. Make a Commitment.

To learn more about CYFI:


E-Workshop Recap: Agricultural risk management with FAO and ILO

FAO Photo 2

Photo courtesy of FAO

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Last week, we had a in-depth conversation with Patricia Richter and Pranav Prashad of ILO and Emilio Hernandez of FAO about the risks and challenges facing small holder and subsitence farmers. The conversation delved into key tools and strategies for better delivering crucial, risk-reducing tools to those working in agriculture. Access the presentation.

We wanted to share some final thoughts from the presenters and also post here, as promised, links to the materials shown or referenced in the session.

FAO presenter Emilio Hernandez shared these materials for greater depth, saying:

We have a data base of training material FAO and its partners have developed for many years. It is a knowledge hub specifically for rural and agricultural finance.

In the database

Final insights from ILO impact studies in Ghana and China:

Insurance has a productive impact too, in addition to being a protective tool. In agriculture, studies in Ghana and China (my slide 2), have shown higher investments and outputs. In Ghana insured farmers increased investment in fertilizers (and better seeds) by 24% and increased cultivated area by over 15%. Similarly in China, insurance led to 27% higher investments in cross bred pigs among policy holders.

On the protective side, insured pastoralists (livestock insurance) in Kenya showed lower reliance on burdensome coping strategies such as “desperate” sales of livestock in case drought (down 29%). Similar results have been seen in case for indebtedness and keeping children in school / preventing them from working in fields when their health risks are covered through insurance.

For more on this, see

Resources from ILO include:

Additional ILO Rural Capacity Building tools:

Title of product Description Type
Empowering rural communities through financial inclusion Policy brief on financial inclusion for rural communities. Policy advise
Protecting the Poor: A Microinsurance compendium. Vol. II Contains chapters on climate change, next-generation index insurance for smallholder farmers, livestock insurance. Knowledge product
Making insurance work for microfinance institutions: a technical guide to developing microinsurancePathways towards greater impact: Better microinsurance models, products and processes for MFIs Guide for MFI managers on the design and operation of basic insurance products. Introduces fundamental insurance concepts, outlines the prerequisites needed for an MFI and describes the key features of five types of insurance products.Based on the experiences of innovative microfinance institutions (MFIs), it is clear that they can provide risk-management services that are valuable for clients and MFIs alike. The paper provides a comprehensive review of the challenges and successes of MFIs and offers ten key recommendations. Knowledge product
Financial Education: Trainers’ Manuals A series of training materials designed to teach vulnerable groups – including women and men in poverty, families with working children, youth and migrant workers – financial knowledge and management skills. Training Tool
Making Microfinance Work: Rural Microfinance A chapter and stand-alone course (in development) in the MFI management training programme “Making Microfinance Work: Managing Product Diversification” Training Tool
Village Banking and the Ledger Guide Practical tool for strengthening village banks as a means of giving poor women and men in rural and often remote areas access to financial services (savings and credit), social empowerment and a higher quality of life. Training Tool
Rural Academy: Decent Work in the Rural Economy 2-week training event with a 3-day elective on rural finance. Training Course

Join our next E-Workshop on agricultural risk management with FAO and ILO

FAO Photo 2

Photo courtesy of FAO

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Agricultural value chains that reach to small scale producers

Join our next Campaign Commitment E-Workshop!

Agricultural Risk Management:
Innovations you should know about

April 21, 2015 | 10 AM (GMT-4)

The Microcredit Summit Campaign is proud to present the next installment in our Campaign Commitment E-Workshops Series. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) will lead you through a discussion into new tools for understanding and mitigating the many and varied risks facing smallholder farmer.

Both FAO and ILO launched Campaign Commitments in 2014. We look forward to learning about their accomplishments on these fronts and where they are breaking new ground. Hear about how ILO and FAO are identifying key areas of service gaps and other challenges facing smallholder and substance farmers, be introduced to ILO’s 4-dimensional risk mitigation tool, and learn about the ways non-financial services are working to support reducing vulnerability.

Tuesday, April 21st
10:00 AM (GMT-4)

…for the E-WORKSHOP
“Agricultural Risk Management: Innovations you should know about”

This webinar will be conducted in English. We will live-tweet using the hashtag #Commit100M in English, Spanish, and French.

Presenting Organizations
International Labour Organization
Food and Agricultural Organization
Microcredit Summit Campaign

ILO and FAO both launched Campaign Commitments! We invite you also to…

Get Inspired. Set a Goal. Make a Commitment.

Join the movement to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty:

7 years in transparency

Image credit: MicroFinance Transparency

Image credit: MicroFinance Transparency

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>>Authored by Jesse Marsden, Manager, Research and Operations

If you haven’t read what Mary Ellen Iskenderian (Women’s World Banking) and Michael Schlein (Accion) have to say about the tremendous work of MicroFinance Transparency (MFT) we think you should. “A New Chapter for Pricing Transparency” it is a powerful testament to the importance of the task Chuck Waterfield and his team undertook, enabling a clear and simple means to understand the true cost of the credit products the microfinance industry is providing.

As a direct result of MFT’s methodology, microfinance institutions in many countries now report their pricing data. Multiple institutions also reduced their prices after publishing data and determining that they were out of line with other institutions in their market. Since MFT has been operating, many governments have also started to require pricing transparency in their regulation of the microfinance industry.

MCWG logo

Read the original post by Mary Ellen Iskenderian and Michael Schlein on the Microfinance CEO WOrking Group’s blog!

Womens World Banking and Accion are two of the founding organizations of the Microfinance CEO Working Group (MCWG) who collectively launched Campaign Commitments in 2013. (Read all about it!) This is a consortium of organizations that globally reach over 61 million low income individuals — many among the extreme poor — working together to find synergies and partnerships that make possible their dedication to seeking the highest levels of client protection, social performance, and pricing transparency.

As they say, this is “work that none of us can do alone.” We agree. We are all implicated.

Pricing transparency is one aspect of work that, as they highlight in their article, is an essential part of fulfilling an organization’s mission to serve low-income clients well. This makes pricing transparency important to all actors serving the needs of the poor and extreme poor, whether service provider, market facilitator, policy maker, or investor.

WWB picture blog

Photo credit: Women’s World Banking

The Campaign would hazard to say as well that pricing transparency is a core element to achieving the kinds of pricing models that will help make financial inclusion pathways more affordable to even extremely low-income individuals — an important constituent group to achieving full financial inclusion. (For more on that, check out the Center for Financial Inclusion — another Commitment Making leader!)

We are very glad to be partnered with the MCWG and point to their very thorough Campaign Commitment as an example of the kind of multi-faceted and collaborative approach needed to make headway in using financial and social services to help end poverty. We second the call from the MCWG to combine “successful data collection…advocacy, education, training, and funding” to ensure that pricing transparency remains a central pillar to sustainable and full financial inclusion.

Institutions that do not comply are not “getting away with it”; they do not belong in this industry. Pricing transparency should never be a threat to competitive advantage, but a requirement to operate as a responsible microfinance institution.

We look forward to a continued partnership with the MCWG in finding ways to strengthen the financial inclusion pathways for all those living below the poverty line.

We also would like to acknowledge the interesting conversation that has been happening on the Microfinance Practice Yahoo! Group listserv. Chuck made the announcement about MFT closing its doors there and the outpouring of support and the testimonials of personal experience either with MFT specifically or with price transparency in general has been enlightening. We encourage you to join the listserv as it is a valuable resource for a frank conversation about relevant issues with your peers.


Serving children and youth in your work to end poverty

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Thank you to the Microfinance Gateway for translating this to Arabic!

Nearly 70 individuals joined us on March 12th to celebrate Global Money Week and engage with representatives from AGFUND and Child & Youth Finance International, exploring strategies and specific programs to include children and youth in their work to help end poverty.

The discussion went in depth on major challenges facing microfinance practitioners looking to effectively and safely serve this group but also highlighted several leading examples of how those challenges may be overcome.


Jared Penner, manager for education and engagement, spoke about the importance of not overlooking children and youth in the financial inclusion map and underscored the importance of early exposure to, and the deeper resulting understanding from, using financial tools — particularly savings accounts. Ignacio Bianco, also with CYFI, talked about their SchoolBank Program in which they work with education and banking partners to deliver specially designed savings accounts to children at their schools.

AGFUND_279x172Nasser Al-Khatani, executive director of AGFUND, presented some foundational lessons that have been developed into guidelines for how AGFUND’s member banks approach serving children and youth through a combination of financial and educational supports. Mr. Al-Khatani also described their own work with delivering savings to children and the important role this program has played in further integrating the children’s parents into the formal financial system.

Watch the full session here!

Access the presenters’ slides or additional resources below

We were thrilled to be part of Global Money Week through a Campaign Commitment E-Workshop for the second year in a row. We are also pleased to have both CYFI and AGFUND as members of the Campaign through their impressive Campaign Commitments!  Find out more here.

We would like to know more about your work too!

Be Inspired. Set Goals. Make a Commitment.

Write to us to find out how to announce your Campaign Commitment and join this global coalition of leaders setting actionable goals for their work to end extreme poverty!

State your Campaign Commitment by contacting us at

Follow the Campaign’s 100 Million Project:

Learn about the 100 Million Project Project and Campaign Commitments.

E-Workshop: Including Children & Youth in Your Work to End Extreme Poverty

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As part of Global Money Week 2015 join us for an E-Workshop to explore how child and youth inclusive approaches to financial inclusion are making a difference in ending poverty!

March 12, 2015 | 11 AM(GMT-4)

The Microcredit Summit Campaign is teaming up with Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) for the second year to support greater access to financial tools and services for children and youth living in extreme poverty.

We are joined this year by AGFUND‘s executive director, Nasser Al-Khatani, who will share how AGFUND is strengthening their work to reduce poverty though savings accounts for children, education loans, and youth capacity training.

Click here to register

What time in your country?
Daylight Saving Time begins in the US on March 8th, so our times (GMT-4) reflect that change

Join us on
Thursday, March 12th
at 11:00 AM (GMT-4)

for an E-Workshop webinar titled:
“Including Children & Youth in Your Work to End Extreme Poverty”

Join us for this exciting discussion to gain a deeper understanding of how child and youth inclusive strategies are working to support ending extreme poverty!

This webinar will be conducted in English. For our Spanish-speaking colleagues, the Portal de Microfinanzas (@Portal_MF) will be live-tweeting in Spanish the key points addressed by the speakers.

Child & Youth Finance International Jared Penner
Manger, Global Engagement and Evaluation
Igancio Blanco
Banking and Financial Institution Coordinator
Arab Gulf Programme for Development – AGFUND Nasser Al-Khatani
Executive Director
Microcredit Summit Campaign Jesse Marsden
Program Manager (Moderator)

Join us for Global Money Week! March 09 – 17, 2015

This March 9 to 17, organizations around the world participating in Global Money Week (GMW) will be engaging in actions – large and small – promoting access to, and awareness of, financial tools and services designed for children and youth.

CYFI and AGFUND both launched Campaign Commitments! We invite you to…

Get Inspired. Set Goals. Make a Commitment.

Join the movement to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty:

Including children and youth in your work to end extreme poverty

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Join us for Global Money Week! March 9 – 17, 2015

The Microcredit Summit Campaign is teaming up with Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) for the second year to support greater access to financial tools and services for children and youth living in extreme poverty.


Join us for Global Money Week! March 09 – 17, 2015

This March 9 to 17, organizations around the world participating in Global Money Week (GMW) will be engaging in actions – large and small – promoting access to, and awareness of, financial tools and services designed for children and youth.

In 2014, we launched a joint Campaign Commitment with CYFI that takes advantage of our shared aim of addressing the needs of children and youth living in extreme poverty. Join us in taking action this year to better serve children and youth living in extreme poverty! See below for resources that CYFI has put together to help you organize your own event during GMW 2015.

We would like to recognize those who are doing great things in this area. Contact us if you would like to highlight your efforts to serve the needs of children and youth living in extreme poverty by announcing your 2015 Campaign Commitment. 

Write to us for advice or Commit online!

TOOLKIT: Get ideas for your GMW 2015 Action from this toolkit developed by CYFI. Here are some other ideas that CYFI is ready to help you develop into action:

  • Support starting a SchoolBank model developed by CYFI
  • Host a day for clients to visit your institution to learn how services providers work!
  • Hold an education session for children or youth about the importance of financial tools such as savings accounts

COMMIT: Use GMW to Launch a 2015 Campaign Commitment to support children and youth financial inclusion. We are working with CYFI to recruit Commitments from 50 financial service providers who will reach 10 million children and youth through by the end of 2015. In addition, we aim to reach 250,000 children and youth through 25 financial institutions during GMW 2015. Join us in taking action this year to better serve children and youth living in extreme poverty!

E-WORKSHOP (time change!): Join us on March 12 at 11 AM (ET / GMT-4) 10 AM (ET / GMT-5) for the next Campaign Commitment E-Workshop co-hosted with CYFI to learn more about their new SchoolBank initiative and their recently published guide for developing products and services specifically designed to work with children and youth. Stay tuned for more details on our guest speakers and the topics of the day.

Be inspired. Set goals. Make a Commitment.

How can you serve children and youth living in extreme poverty? Write to us to find out more or send us your Commitment online!

Follow this E-Workshop and the Campaign’s 100 Million Project:

Learn about the 100 Million Project Project and Campaign Commitments.

HWW webinar_promo image blog

Interested in the health of your clients?

The Microcredit Summit Campaign is co-hosting a webinar with the SEEP Network on March 4th at 9:30 AM (ET / GMT-5) called “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: How MFIs Can Track the Health of Clients.” The session will focus on client health outcomes, so if you’re interested in how MFIs can track the health of their clients you wont want to miss this! Register today.

MicroEnsure to Expand Services to New Clients and Countries – Latest Campaign Commitment


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MicroEnsure releases a Campaign Commitment! Español Français Continue reading

Call for Pitches! Last Chance for a FREE RIDE to the 2013 Summit


Last Chance

for a FREE RIDE to the
2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit in the Philippines

Call for Pitches!

Are you, or do you know, a business school or public policy student?

 Want to attend one of the largest gatherings of microfinance
practitioners in the industry – FREE?

Think you have an idea on cutting edge solutions to serving
the poor with mobile banking solutions?

Apply to pitch your idea to practitioners & investors at the
2013 Partnerships Against Poverty Summit
Oct 9-11 in Manila, Philippines

 Apply to pitch your idea at the 2013 Partnerships Against Poverty Summit in a session exploring the challenges and solutions for successfully launching mobile banking services for microfinance clients.

You’ll be presenting to real life practitioners from some of the leading microfinance institutions around the world, investors and funders looking to balance the social outcomes and financial sustainability of mobile, and market facilitation allies looking for new thinkers and doers to support effective solutions for serving poor clients.

And being at the summit will give you access to the hundreds of thought leaders, high-level government regulators, microfinance practitioners, media, civil society, product design experts, providers of support services, heads of institutional multinational banks, private sector businesses and heads of state.

And best of all, we’ll foot the bill!  Pitches selected will be eligible to have a representative of the developing team attend the Summit free of charge.

We are looking for Pitches of client-centered solutions that address one or more of the following themes:

  • Creating the cross sector linkages needed to ensure success
  • Understanding preferences and building client capacity to fully benefit from mobile services
  • Solving the pricing problem to balance financial sustainability with serving the very poor

If your pitch is selected, you’ll have the opportunity to work directly with microfinance institutions facing these challenges right now to develop your pitch for the Summit.  Pitches can be submitted individually or as a team – though teams will need to select one representative to deliver the pitch at the 2013 Partnerships Against Poverty Summit. 

To apply, send a 1 page statement of what theme you or your team will address and what makes your or your team the best for pitching a solution for your chosen topic.  Include a CV for yourself and any team members and which team member would represent you at the Summit if chosen.

DON’T WAIT!  Your 1 page statement is due THIS Friday the 20th

Deadline extended to Monday the 23rd at noon EST!

Send them to