>>Authored by Sabina Rogers, Communications and Relationships Manager, Microcredit Summit Campaign
In a 2013 article, New York Times opinion writer, David Bornstein, wrote that RESULTS “remains one of the best-kept secrets in development.” RESULTS (and RESULTS Educational Fund, from which the Microcredit Summit came and into which the Microcredit Summit Campaign operations have been merged) is a grassroots advocacy organization founded in 1980. It has international affiliates in the UK, Canada, Australia, France (and Belgium), Japan, Korea, and Mexico; and the RESULTS family coordinates advocacy efforts to remarkable effect.
Never heard of RESULTS? Recall the poverty measurement legislation in the mid 2000s that requires USAID to direct at least 50 percent of their microenterprise funds to those living on less than $1 a day? Legislation that also prompted the creation of USAID’s Poverty Assessment Tool? That was RESULTS and allies.
The U.N. International Year of Microcredit in 2005 and the Nobel Peace Prize for Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank? That was RESULTS volunteers and the Microcredit Summit Campaign lobbying year after year for consideration. (FYI: The Year of Microcredit was established by the UN in 1998, the year after the 1997 Microcredit Summit, through the efforts of the Bangladesh Ambassador to the U.N., in recognition of the Summit’s 2005 deadline.)
Please find below a special message from our friends at Red Financiera Rural (RFR) in Ecuador. They are requesting our aid in dealing with the destruction of the April 16th earthquake. While immediate needs are being met, RFR is looking to the future and how their member microfinance institutions can help their clients and communities come back stronger than ever. They are asking for your help in one of three ways:
Donate to RFR’s efforts to help microentrepreneurs most affected by the earthquake or provide funds to help RFR establish a credit fund to help small businesses recover.
Contribute second-tier, long-term credit with preferential interest rates.
Offer your advice and experiences in dealing with disaster recovery.
Cordial greetings from Rural Financial Network (RFR), an organization of 50 microfinance institutions with credit serving about 1,250,000 microentrepreneurs and small producers throughout Ecuador.
As you may know, an earthquake of 7.8 degrees on the Richter scale occurred on 16 April in Ecuador, with serious consequences on the west coast. The time has mobilized the whole country to assist with aid to cities and towns affected and have received specialized brigades and support of more than 10 countries to rescue survivors, assist the wounded, provide basic goods to the population and find the bodies. Español | Français | Continue reading →
Abajo encontrará un mensaje especial de nuestros amigos de la Red Financiera Rural (RFR) en Ecuador. Están solicitando nuestra ayuda para los damnificados de la destrucción del terremoto del 16 de abril. Mientras que las necesidades inmediatas se están satisfaciendo, RFR está viendo hacia el futuro y cómo sus instituciones microfinancieras integrantes pueden ayudar a que sus clientes y las comunidades regresen más fuertes que nunca. Están pidiendo su ayuda en una de tres formas:
Donar a los esfuerzos de la RFR para ayudar a los microempresarios más afectadas por el terremoto o proporcionar fondos para ayudar a la RFR a establecer un fondo de crédito para ayudar a las pequeñas empresas a recuperarse.
Contribuir crédito de segundo piso con tasas de interés preferenciales y de largo plazo.
Ofrecer su asesoramiento y experiencia con casos de recuperación de desastres.
Reciban un cordial saludo de Red Financiera Rural (RFR), organización que agrupa a 50 instituciones de microfinanzas que atienden con crédito a cerca de 1,250,000 microempresarios y pequeños productores en todo el Ecuador.
Como es de su conocimiento un terremoto de 7.8 grados en la escala de Richter ha ocurrido el 16 de abril pasado en Ecuador, con graves consecuencias en la costa oeste del país. Al momento se ha movilizado el país entero para asistir con ayuda a las ciudades y poblados afectados, así como se han recibido brigadas especializadas y ayuda de más de 10 países hermanos para rescatar a sobrevivientes, asistir a los heridos, dotar de bienes básicos a la población y encontrar los cadáveres.
Al momento de escribir este oficio se totalizan más de 500 muertos, cerca de 3,000 personas heridas y alrededor de 1,000 desaparecidos. Se puede decir que al momento existe organización suficiente para asistir las necesidades actuales y que la solidaridad recibida contribuye a lo que se necesita por el momento. La preocupación como Red que agrupa a instituciones de microfinanzas surge de cara al futuro.
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).
Join the Mifos Initiative and DreamStart Labs in a new, bold, and momentous initiative. They are collaborating on a joint Campaign Commitment that embodies the spirit of the 100 Million Project with its measurable approach and global outreach for the financial inclusion of the world’s extreme poor.
These two Commitment Makers will begin by providing a sample of savings groups from various countries with software to manage their financial records. Working in the lean startup method of “build-measure-learn,” they will adjust and fine-tune their software to meet the needs of the extreme poor. Not only will the software empower families and communities to become part of the formal financial services system, but more importantly, it will provide crucial data that will improve product design and the lives of the families who receive them.
BECOME PART OF THIS INITIATIVE. Mifos and DreamStart are looking for a partner to roll out this platform. The ideal partner for this project will be a highly motivated, committed organization with a global network of saving groups. The Mifos Initiative and DreamStart Labs hope to welcome this partner by the end of the month and announce this exciting new Commitment at the 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi this March 14-17.
The Microcredit Summit Campaign has long been committed to promoting the uptake of measurement tools in the microfinance sector, especially the poverty measurement tools. Such tools provide MFIs the means to know for sure if they really are reaching the poorest. More recently, we have encouraged MFIs to implement these tools to track the movement of clients (hopefully) out of poverty. At the 18th Microcredit Summit next month, we have several sessions that will show participants the benefits and challenges of such tools, including the Client Outcome Performance (COPE) Indicators Database, which you’ll read about here.
>> Authored by Bobbi Gray, Freedom from Hunger
When I joined Freedom from Hunger several years back, I had the responsibility to carry on a decades-long commitment to research and evaluation. My predecessor, Barbara MkNelly, as well as my then-supervisor and president of Freedom from Hunger, Christopher Dunford, were already known for their contributions to the research efforts of the growing microfinance sector and the original set of SEEP/AIMS client assessment tools. Freedom from Hunger’s commitment to promoting easy-to-use and cost-effective tools also led to years of developing monitoring and evaluation systems for microfinance organizations that were coined as “Progress Tracking.” Fast-forward several years, and this is much better known as Social Performance Management.
We are pleased to post an update from Grameen Foundation about the Campaign Commitment that they launched in 2014. Focused on supporting the growth of the use of a very effective poverty measurement tool, the PPI®, their Commitment also underscores the importance of using the data from tools like this in helping to improve the way we support and serve those living in poverty.
You can learn first-hand how such tools can be used, not just to prove that you are reaching the extreme poor, but to improve the services that you offer and the way you interact with the extreme poor. We are organizing a breakout session at the 18th Microcredit Summit called “Innovations in Measuring Social Impact.” Learn more and register today!
>> Authored by Julie Peachey, Grameen Foundation
In early 2014, Grameen Foundation made several commitments, as part of the Microcredit Summit Campaign’s 100 Million Project, towards achievement of the collective goal of helping 100 million families escape poverty. Our commitments focused on demonstrating use of the Progress out of Poverty Index® (PPI®) for measuring household-level poverty, because reaching and lifting people out of poverty requires knowing who is actually poor.
Over the past 20 years, the Philippines has enjoyed an increase in life expectancy, improved access to education and economic opportunity, and a decrease in communicable diseases. However, maternal health has lagged behind, and as 2015 draws to a close, the world will be reflecting on the Millennium Development Goals like #5, “Improve maternal health.” Three development organizations took action in 2014 to tackle this challenge and are now celebrating what has been achieved, new partnerships that have been formed, and plans for moving forward.
Freedom from Hunger and the Microcredit Summit Campaign partnered with CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) to implement a project called “Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies: Kalinga kay Inay.” The project is supported by an educational grant from Johnson & Johnson and will conclude at the end of 2015.
>>Authored by Larry Reed, Director, Microcredit Summit Campaign
Last week, Beth Rhyne posted a well-deserved tribute to Alex Counts, who recently retired as CEO of Grameen Foundation. I’d like to add to her thoughtful articulation of Alex’s contributions to microfinance and the lives of people living in poverty.
I once sat with Alex at a dinner in Dhaka that brought together many different strands of the Grameen family. Our table included several of the board members of Grameen Bank, women clients of the bank. They laughed at Alex as he talked with them in Bangla, and then let us know exactly what they thought about how the government was treating Prof. Yunus. As I watched their delighted conversation, I was struck with how it traversed so many traditional barriers of gender, age, caste, education, experience and income. It was just Alex and his friends, who were not only clients of Grameen but were also mothers, daughters, board members and business owners. He wanted to learn as much as he could from them.
The Microcredit Summit Campaign welcomes microPension Foundation (mPF) as the 58th organization to make a Campaign Commitment. mPF commits to provide an integrated, contributions-led micropension solutions for 25,000 domestic help workers in India and work to further social security inclusion for low-income informal sector workers. With this Commitment, mPF joins a global coalition to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
The non-profit mPF is a specialized pension and social security inclusion R&D hub established in 2012 through an inception grant from VISA, Inc. mPF develops, field-tests, and mainstreams innovative and scalable technology-led solutions to enable secure, convenient, and affordable access to contributory pension and social security programs by low-income unbanked workers.
The Microcredit Summit Campaign is delighted to support CFI’s efforts to track the progress of the Financial Inclusion 2020 project. In contribution to the “Financial Inclusion 2020 Progress Report,” we recently conducted a series of interviews with microfinance leaders around the world who are committed to reaching the most marginalized. Read “Addressing the financial needs of the most excluded” to hear directly from practitioners engaged in this work. Elisabeth Rhyne believes you will be both astonished by the progress and daunted by the gaps that remain” in financial inclusion. Read her post below and visit the interactive Progress Report website to take part in this financial inclusion diagnosis.
Today the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) is proud to launch the Financial Inclusion 2020 Progress Report, an interactive website that portrays the recent progress and unmet challenges on the path to global financial inclusion.
When we began the FI2020 project in 2011, we hoped to create a sense of both urgency and possibility. We believed that enabling everyone in the world to gain access to quality financial services was a goal of major development significance. We also saw that with many active players and the promise that digitization would enable many more people to be reached at lower cost, it was no longer simply wishful thinking to call for full inclusion within a reasonable timeframe. Global financial inclusion had entered the realm of the possible.
>>Authored by Dr. D.S.K. Rao, Regional Director for Asia-Pacific
We learned recently that a great friend of the Microcredit Summit Campaign died of lung cancer earlier this month. Dr. Harihar Dev Pant, a pioneer of microfinance in Nepal, started his career in microfinance as a deputy director in the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB, the country’s central bank), and went on to found one of the largest microfinance banks in Nepal, Nirdhan Utthan Bank Ltd. He was its chairman and CEO till near the end.
As the deputy governor of the central bank, Dr. Pant laid the foundation for microcredit in Nepal. Dr. Pant was greatly influenced by Prof. Muhammad Yunus (to the right) and was indoctrinated by the Nobel laureate into microfinance.
As the deputy governor he was responsible in creating five rural banks in Nepal specializing in microcredit operations and following the Grameen Bank lending methodology. Dr. Pant was the founder-chairman of the first two Grameen Bikas Banks in Nepal: Purbanchal Grameen Bikas Bank and Sudur Paschimanchal Grameen Bikas Bank. After his retirement from the central bank, he created Nirdhan Utthan Bank, which grew rapidly to become one of the largest MFIs in the country.
The Microcredit Summit Campaign welcomes ESAF Microfinance as the 57th organization to make a Campaign Commitment. ESAF joins a global coalition to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty. ESAF will help support their clients in uplifting themselves from poverty by providing them with education, training, and support services.
ESAF and the Campaign strongly believe that microfinance services should be complemented by education, training, and other supporting programs that help poor families battle chronic poverty and social exclusion. For example, in partnership with the Campaign, ESAF trained community health workers (Arogya Mithras in Hindi) to provide health education and front-line screening services for non-communicable diseases to poor communities. You can learn about that project in “Integrating Health with Microfinance: Community Health Workers in Action.”
>>Authored by Theo Fievet, State of the Campaign Report Intern
A step to climb
Despite economic growth over the last decade, healthcare outcomes in Kenya remain weak. Rates of maternal mortality and stunting among children have barely changed…
— World Bank, Financial Report (Kenya), June 2014
Is a vibrant, fast-growing economy enough to improve the performance of the public health sector? A case study in Kenya published recently by RESULTS UK and partners KANCO and WACI shows that the correlation between economic growth and public health is not simple, nor automatic. Even though Kenya’s growth in recent years averaged 6 percent per annum, 25 percent of the population still lacks quality healthcare.
Read this new report, Who Pays for Progress? today!