#tbt: 2011 workshop paper on microfinance for remote, hard-to-reach areas

#Tbt_18

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In 2011, we commissioned more than 40 papers to accompany the workshops and plenaries organized at our Global Microcredit Summit 2011. This week’s #ThrowbackThursday is a great opportunity to review the wealth of knowledge generated by the Summit. Listen to the audio recording from the workshop here.


What is the Cutting Edge for Microfinance in Remote, Hard to Reach Areas?

Authors: Anne Hastings and Steven Werlin

Introduction

Maximizing access to financial services in remote rural areas requires us to face a range of challenges that demand, in turn, a range of solutions. The problem is no more uniform than the regions that the services need to get to or the nature of the services required.

Access is not an end in itself but merely an important means towards progress for rural families and the communities they inhabit. That means that there are two sides to the question of access. On one hand, we must ask: what are the most effective ways to deliver financial services to especially hard-to-reach areas. Getting standard financial services to some areas presents significant challenges. On the other, there are distinct products and services that can help families living in remote rural areas in important ways. In other words, there is both a question of delivery of services and a separate question of the design of those services. In this paper, we have chosen to focus almost exclusively on the delivery of services.

Even if we limit our analysis to the question of delivery, the answers we present must vary for the various standard financial services we consider. If the issue is access to credit, we believe that one cutting edge approach to delivery continues to be a well-tried model: opening branches in underserved areas that spread their reach through traditional solidarity-group credit centers. The key to this approach remains ensuring attention to what we call the three pillars of standard solidarity-group microcredit: center attendance, 100% repayment, and proper investment of loans. We will discuss our own experience re-establishing these pillars at one rural branch as well as our new effort to shift center leadership from MFI staff to local credit center members.

Read the full paper.

Listen to the audio recording of the workshop.

Review Dr. Pant’s presentation.


Related reading

#tbt: The Faces Behind the Statistics

#ThrowbackThursday

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We are pleased to bring you this #ThursdayThrowback blog post, which was originally published in The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report 2005. Microfinance client Janèt Dèval attended literacy courses offered by Fonkoze and shares how her business has been improved. Indeed, it has cemented her determination to continue improving herself and her loyalty to her microfinance institution.


Microfinance stands as one of the most promising and cost-effective tools in the fight against global poverty.

Jonathan Morduch, Chair
United Nations Expert Group on Poverty Statistics

Janèt Dèval, a client of Fonkoze, a microcredit institution in Haiti, is one of the 66.6 million poorest clients reached. Janèt has been a credit client for more than two years and comes regularly to all meetings. She has also been a part of every literacy program available and is about to start the newest module on developing business skills. Not only could she not read or write when she started, but she has had an extra challenge: Janèt has only a fraction of her hearing due to an injury when she was 20 years old.

My husband didn’t want me to send my five children to school because his parents didn’t send him to school. From the beginning, he said he would not pay and he has never given even one goud, but I always knew it was important. For a long time I have gone to Port-au-Prince to buy goods to sell in Hinche, and I put all my money into paying for school for my children.

When I found out that Fonkoze gave literacy classes for market women, I was so happy. I never went to school even one day. I didn’t know anything about school. I started right away with basic literacy and I have tried to never miss a class.

I couldn’t write my name and I didn’t understand anything, but I kept going even when my husband got angry. My kids pushed me and encouraged me and they helped me practice my letters. The monitor, Christa, told me to keep writing every day even when I didn’t understand.

I can write my name now, and I write it everywhere. Imagine, I used to go to Port-au-Prince to buy and I couldn’t read the bags and I felt lost. I couldn’t keep track of what I bought. The drivers sometimes would take my boxes off the truck and give them to someone else, but I didn’t know until I got all the way home. Now, I can’t lose anything. Now I write my name on every box and I know what I buy.

I finished Alfa Baz and Alfa Pos and then I went to the Health Program, too. I still don’t know many things, so I want to keep going. I take my notebook to my school and I write in it because one day I hope to read and understand everything. I bought two books in the market and my kids help me read them.

I work hard in the market so that I can repay my loans, keep going to school and so that my kids have that chance, too. If my parents would have sent me to school, I would have thrown a party for them to say thank you.[1]

The Microcredit Summit was launched to multiply stories like this 100 million times, but a number of barriers continue to impede the Campaign’s success.

Read the 2005 Report.


Footnote

[1] From the Fonkoze website www.fonkoze.org.

Yunus Centre fulfills Campaign Commitment by cultivating ‘job-givers’

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The Yunus Centre has worked tirelessly to promote the philosophy of Professor Mohammad Yunus and to alleviate poverty through social entrepreneurship and turning ‘job-seekers’ into ‘job-givers’. The Yunus Centre declared its support for the goal of helping 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty by announcing a Campaign Commitment at the 2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit held last October 2013 in Manila, Philippines. The Microcredit Summit Campaign recently caught up with the Yunus Centre to learn about the progress they’ve made on their Commitment and the ways they are working towards the end of extreme poverty.


“The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world all we have to do is to free them from the chains that we have put around them.” – Professor Mohammad Yunus

Yunus

Professor Mohammad Yunus, winner of Nobel Peace Prize for his work with microfinance and founding of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Image courtesy of Yunus Centre.

Founded in 2006, the Yunus Centre actively promotes and disseminates the philosophy of world-renowned microfinance leader Professor Mohammad Yunus. Professor Yunus believes we can achieve the end of poverty through microfinance and social entrepreneurship.

In October of 2013, the Yunus Centre made the Commitment to support the 100 Million Project through the following actions:

By the end of 2018:

  • Create a global social business sector serving at least 100 million poor, and providing jobs and for at least 10 million households.

In just over one year, by the end of 2014:

  • Help create, finance and expand more than 50 social businesses in at least 20 countries world-wide.
  • Create Social Business Incubator Funds, and other structures, in at least 8 countries: Albania, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, India, Tunisia and Uganda
  • Social businesses in Bangladesh will serve at least 2 million households, and employ at least 20,000 households.
  • Collect and publish relevant social-impact data for all social businesses.

Yunus Centre Campaign Commitment Outlook: Achieving the 2014 Benchmarks   

The Yunus Centre has achieved outstanding progress since announcing its Campaign Commitment in 2013.

The Yunus Centre has met its 2013 benchmark of creating, financing and expanding more than 50 social businesses.

As of May 2014, the Yunus Centre has helped launch more than 100 new social businesses in Bangladesh. Recently the Yunus Centre introduced a new initiative called nobin udyoktas(‘new entrepreneurs’ in Bangladeshi) which is aimed primarily at the children of Grameen Bank borrowers and intends to turn them from ‘job seekers’ into ‘job creators’. Every month the Yunus Centre hosts a social business design lab which is a platform for entrepreneurs to present their social business designs in front of experienced business executives and social activists. Initial successes have helped the Yunus Centre to gain momentum in encouraging youth to make their own destiny through social business ventures. The Centre projects that it will reach 200 new social businesses by the end of 2014.

However work remains to be done. The Yunus Centre committed to create, finance, and expand more than 50 social businesses in 20 countries worldwide. They have achieved remarkable success in Bangladesh, but what about the rest of the world? So far Yunus Social Business (YSB) has launched social businesses in Colombia, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Haiti and Albania.As an example, in Colombia, the Yunus Centre partnered with McCain Foods to launch Campo Vivo, a social business that will benefit farmers living in poverty by aiding them in the production and commercialization of potatoes, carrots and peas. The Yunus Centre has made great progress towards achieving the first goal of its Commitment; nonetheless, expanding social businesses into other countries will remain a priority as they seek to reach their target of 20.

Yunus Centre has achieved its goal of creating Social Business Incubator Funds in eight countries.

Yunus Centre launched Social Business Incubator Funds in Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Albania, Tunisia, Uganda and India since 2013. The goal of these incubator funds is to provide start-up investment for social businesses when traditional banks may not be willing to invest. The funds are designed to be financially sustainable at $13.5 to $20.5 million and can be expected to invest in approximately 6 new social businesses each year. Some of the incubator funds are already providing services to entrepreneurs.

Although the Yunus Centre has made considerable progress towards achieving its Commitment, it has not yet been able to quantify its impact.

In October of 2013, the Yunus Centre boldly committed to helping social businesses serve 2 million households and employ 20,000 households. Because most of the social businesses are start-up enterprises, they are in the process of developing their market and scaling up their operations. Therefore, it is difficult to estimate exactly how many households the social businesses are currently serving. The number is undoubtedly increasing as new social businesses are generated across Bangladesh. Once the Yunus Centre better determines how many households are being served and employed by social businesses in Bangladesh, it will publish the information on socialbusinesspedia.com. After a social business has been operational for a few years and it becomes feasible to measure its impact, the Yunus Centre publishes all relevant social impact data on Social Business Pedia.

Grameen Veolia

Grameen-Veolia Water Ltd. Image courtesy of Yunus Centre.


Join us in Mexico for the 17th Microcredit Summit this September 3-5. Professor Yunus will be a keynote speaker in addition to moderating workshops on social business and youth employment. http://17microcreditsummit.org/


Turning Social Businesses into a Poverty Elimination Tool 

One example of a social business pioneered by the Yunus Foundation is Grameen-Veolia Water Ltd. Although water supply is abundant in Bangladesh, much of the groundwater is contaminated with arsenic for geological reasons. Grameen Healthcare Services partnered with Veolia Water to provide clean water and distribute it to a vast network of rural villages. The joint venture has been established according to the social business principals advocated by the Yunus Centre.

One example of a social business pioneered by the Yunus Foundation is Grameen-Veolia Water Ltd. Although water supply is abundant in Bangladesh, much of the groundwater is contaminated with arsenic for geological reasons. Grameen Healthcare Services partnered with Veolia Water to provide clean water and distribute it to a vast network of rural villages. The joint venture has been established according to the social business principals advocated by the Yunus Centre.

The Yunus Centre views its Campaign Commitment as an integral part of the achieving its mission and helping lift 100 million families out of extreme poverty. The Commitment contributes in two ways to the goal: 1) new services are being introduced to the next generation of microfinance stakeholders, and 2) the ‘nobin udyokta’ initiative is providing equity financing for social businesses to create a generation of ‘job givers’ instead of ‘job seekers’. Professor Yunus shared his enthusiasm for the progress the Yunus Centre has made towards achieving its Commitment stating, “We are excited about new possible openings, especially social business gaining momentum in many countries. It’s a starting point for a global movement.”

Through these efforts the Yunus Centre is making large contributions to the 100 Million Goal. Standing alongside the Campaign’s coalition of actors who have stated their Campaign Commitment, the Yunus Centre is helping make the end of extreme poverty possible and achievable.


Join Yunus Centre and State your Campaign Commitment

Join Yunus Centre in the global coalition help 100 million families lift themselves out of poverty – state your Campaign Commitment at mycommitment@microcreditsummit.org

Need additional guidance in formulating your own Campaign Commitment? Refer to our Commitment Development Toolkit.

Be social with us on Facebook and Twitter (@MicroCredSummit) using the hashtags #Commit100M and #100MGoal

Learn more about the Microcredit Summit Campaign: http://www.microcreditsummit.org/

Graduating Families out of Ultra-Poverty (E-Workshop Recap)

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Due to technical difficulties, the webinar recording function started late. We apologize for this inconvenience and have made a summary and the presenter’s slides available to you.

BRAC client

Image courtesy of BRAC


Webinar resources


Larry Reed, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, moderated an engaging discussion about the Graduation Model pioneered by BRAC, an international development organization based in Bangladesh, that included Sadna Samaranayake (Program Manager of the Ultra-Poor Graduation Program at BRAC USA), Carine Roenen (Executive Director of Fonkoze in Haiti) and Raymond Serios (Special Projects Manager at Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation).

Sadna Samaranayake, BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Program

Sadna opened by describing BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation Approach which targets ultra-poor households and follows a process of focused interventions carefully sequenced to “graduate” households out of ultra-poverty. While the World Bank uses the $1.25 per day income threshold to define extreme poverty, BRAC understands the ultra-poor as those in the bottom half of earnings among those below the $1.25 a day line.

Sadna explained that the first step in the process to graduating households from ultra-poverty is to carefully target and select families for program participation. This requires community mapping and wealth ranking exercises to determine which community members are in the most need.

Once chosen to participate in the program, clients receive a transfer of productive assets and a cash stipend. Sadna explained that productive assets can be livestock, seeds for planting, or small goods for enterprise. The cash stipend allows clients flexibility to start improving their livelihood while beginning to generate an income from the productive assets.

Next the clients receive training and they start to generate an income for themselves. As time progresses, clients are encouraged to save money and are given access to appropriate health care. Ultimately, the objective of the graduation approach is to ensure that all families are better integrated into the social fabric of the community and are generating enough sustainable income to conquer ultra-poverty.

Graduation occurs over a period of 24 months when households achieve set economic and social goals including not having a reported food deficit in the past year, having multiple sources of income, owning livestock/poultry, having a sanitary latrine and clean drinking water, having cash savings and school age children attending school. Over the past 12 years, BRAC has graduated 1.4 million people, mainly in Bangladesh and has committed to graduating 250,000 more families by the end of 2016.

Carine Roenen, Fonkoze

Carine followed by illustrating the challenges of implementing a graduation model in Haiti. The Fokonze approach is an adaptation of the BRAC model with slight changes for the context for working in Haiti. Fonkoze has reached 62,735 clients with loans, and graduated 2,900 clients from ultra-poverty. Currently, Fokonze is hoping to expand its outreach in Haiti to graduate more households out of ultra-poverty.

Raymond Serios, Negros Women for Tomorrow

Raymond used his opportunity to interview both Sadna and Carine about the process of implementing a graduation model in his context in the Philippines. Raymond inquired about how BRAC and Fonkoze choose productive assets with the households. Carine responded that it depends on the skills of the client and should be something that she is already familiar with or willing to learn.

Larry then moderated a discussion among the panelists based on questions submitted by webinar participants. Some of the questions focused on monitoring and evaluation processes to track progress toward graduation. Others touched similarly on impact in the long term. It was a lively discussion that included an optional time extension after the official schedule ended to continue discussions. (See all the questions and comments in the webinar chat.)


We would like to thank all of the panelists and all of the participants who attended the webinar and participated via the chat and Q&A functions. We invite you to comment on this post to continue the discussion about the graduation model and further share ideas.

We also invite you to explore the links below to the recording of the webinar, presentations from BRAC and Fokonze, as well as the Robin Burgess report about the impact of the graduation model program on employment choices.

We hope you will join us for our next e-workshop “Instilling Confidence in Poverty Measurement: The New PPI Certification” on Tuesday, June 24th at 10:00 AM (EDT/GMT-4) and featuring panelists Frank Ballard (Grameen Foundation), Analí Oda Salcedo (Planet Rating), and Chiara Pescatori (MicroFinanza Rating).

Webinar Resources:


E-Workshops are hosted by the 100 Million Project of the Microcredit Summit Campaign and strive to feature the work of organizations who have announced Campaign Commitments to take specific, measurable and time-bound actions that demonstrate their commitment to the end of extreme poverty. Are you Committed?  Find out how to share your Commitment to the end of extreme poverty.

Women: The Backbone of Society

Gallery

This gallery contains 3 photos.

A group of 340 CLM members recently underwent Confidence Building Training in preparation for their graduation day…On this day of solidarity for women around the world, they are celebrating their ability to overcome adversity—both in the past, and in the future. Continue reading

Helping Haiti Recover

The world is mobilizing to address the massive earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday, dealing a horrific blow to the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The reported epicenter of the earthquake is a highly populated area known to house many of Port-au-Prince’s poorest families. The International Red Cross estimates that one-third of the island nation’s 9 million people have been displaced by the earthquake and many thousands are dead.

This disaster requires both immediate emergency relief and longer term rebuilding efforts. Microfinance will play a crucial role in the financing needs that inevitably arise from this type of catastrophe as Haitians look to rebuild their country.

Please Donate Today

Below are microfinance organizations participating directly in relief and recovery work among earthquake victims in Haiti. Click on the organization link below to donate:

ACCION INTERNATIONAL

FINCA INTERNATIONAL

GRAMEEN FOUNDATION

Below are other organizations that include microfinance as a part of their work in Haiti, and are currently focused on providing immediate humanitarian assistance:

ADVENTIST DEVELOPMENT AND RELIEF AGENCY

CARE

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES 

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

WORLD RELIEF

WORLD VISION