New report calls for scale-up of financial services “pathways” to help end extreme poverty

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The Microcredit Summit Campaign released our 17th annual survey of the global microfinance industry Wednesday at the Inclusive Finance India Summit held in New Delhi, India. Larry Reed featured the publication, Mapping Pathways out of Poverty: The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report, 2015, in his presentation on Wednesday to attendees of India’s premier financial inclusion conference.

What does the 2015 report say about the data?
According to our annual survey, the global microfinance community reached 211 million borrowers as of December 31, 2013, and 114 million of them were living in extreme poverty (households living on less than $1.90 per day, PPP).

What this means is that, while the microfinance community provided loans to the most clients since we began tracking this number in 1997, the number of poorest clients fell for the third straight year. This is concerning.

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Defining “Poverty”: Pro-Poor Principles series

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“As a simple global benchmark, [the Seal will] reference a poverty line that approximates the bottom ~40% of the population. In many countries, the national poverty line is about the same as the bottom ~40%, as can be see in the graph below. This definition intentionally reflects a level that is practical, achievable and relevant to ensuring deep financial inclusion. Broadly, it represents outreach to the bottom half of the financially excluded. At the same time, in order to recognize MFIs that have achieved deeper outreach to the very poor, the Seal of Excellence indicators identify the percentage of clients from the bottom ~20% as well.”

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Truelift

Pro-Poor Principles series
On 15 May 2013 we announced our Pro-Poor Principles in a blog post, found here. In this continuing series of blog posts, we will elaborate on the path that brought us to these Pro-Poor Principles of microfinance. The principles will inform both the learning environment in our community of practice, as well as our methodology for determining organizations that will be recognized by the Pro-Poor Seal of Excellence. We appreciate any thoughts you have on the Pro-Poor Principles and how best to apply them to practice. If you would like more information, please contact MeasureLearnChange[at]gmail.com.

Defining “Poverty”

A simple plan
There have been many varied measures of poverty established over the past two decades in our global efforts to alleviate poverty. Hundreds of National Poverty Lines have been established by individual country governments, and institutions such as the World Bank have used figures ranging anywhere from…

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Announcing: the Pro-Poor Principles

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As the culmination of three years of work, the Pro-Poor Principles form the foundation for good practice in reaching and serving poor clients.

  1. Principle 1: Purposeful Outreach to People Living in Poverty
  2. Principle 2: Services that Meet the Needs of People Living in Poverty
  3. Principle 3: Tracking Progress of People Living in Poverty

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Truelift

Pro-Poor Principles series
We are proud to announce the Pro-Poor Principles! As the culmination of three years of work, the Pro-Poor Principles form the foundation for good practice in reaching and serving poor clients. They also serve as the core of our assessment framework that will help to identify those organizations doing the most to reach people living in poverty, to meet their needs, and to track progress over time.

The journey to the principles included alpha and beta testing, using a lengthy set of indicators which were reduced and refined. Many meetings and months of deliberation were conducted by our Technical Committee of industry experts. Performance against these standards will help to define the level of recognition that a microfinance institution can receive from the Seal of Excellence Secretariat.

In this continuing series of blog posts, we will elaborate on the path that brought us to these Pro-Poor…

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A Single Garment of Destiny

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Photo Credit: AP File Photo Photo Credit: AP File Photo

On Monday, January 21, in the United States we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. He would have been 84 on January 15th. Dr. King represents for us a man who used moral vision and courage to bring about a change that started first in people’s hearts, and then moved into actions and law. He fought for change in a way that highlighted injustice while calling people of all faiths and races to work together to overcome it.

Dr. King’s vision went far beyond garnering equal rights for his own racial group. His own experience of oppression and suffering led him to identify with all who suffer from systems and structures that exclude them. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Dr. King used the metaphor of a “World House” to remind us that we all inhabit the same fragile planet and that the way we live together will either make the house more habitable or destroy it altogether.

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