Thursday, March 24, 2011

Microfinance Notes: 22 March 2011

At Kiva, we value being in tuned to the news, research, and latest findings in Microfinance, so we are making an effort to bring you more of the latest in Microfinance!

This post we cover: microfinance impact on poverty, industry initiatives for responsible microfinance, client protection principles, microfinance and coffee in East Africa, energy projects in West Africa, inclusion for people with disabilities, good news from East Asia, and mobile technology affecting health outcomes.

Kiva, along with the industry, is often asked to justify whether microfinance truly does alleviate poverty. Our friends at the Financial Access Initiative have an interesting take on a new academic paper.

2. Microfinance Leaders Strive to Walk the Walk source: Beth Rhyne for the Huffington Post 

Kiva may be a relatively young player in microfinance, but we are promoting best practices at our Field Partners. Learn about three industry initiatives which Kiva has been promoting to propagate responsible microfinance worldwide.

Kiva's Field Partner ASKI has been recognized for its excellence in one of the Do-No-Harm principles of client protection. Read about ASKI's innovative approach to ethical staff behavior.

4. Microfinance and Coffee: Microfinance in East Africa: Schemes for Women in the Coffee Sector (pdf) source: Microfinance Gateway

Kiva is about stories. Sometimes, bringing the complicated mechanisms of microfinance down to specific stories--women producing coffee in East Africa--can make the concepts more accessible. Here's a deep dive in a very specific sector and region.

Featured in this report are both Kiva Countries (Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Togo) and Field Partners (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee; Lift Above Poverty Organization; Local Enterprise Assistance Program; and Salone Microfinance Trust).

 6. Financial Inclusion for People with Disabilities: Skepticism Surplus, Glamor Deficit? PWDs Battle Both in Quest for Financial Inclusion source: Center for Financial Inclusion Blog 
Kiva believes in access for all. Kiva aims to promote financial inclusion of vulnerable and especially marginalized populations. Learn about the challenges for providing financial services to people with disabilties. Kiva will be watching this initiative closely. Our Kiva Lending Team, KivaFriends - Disabled Persons, has already been seeking these kinds of loans on Kiva.

7. Good News in Microfinance from East Asia: And Now from East Asia—The Good News  source: CGAP Microfinance Blog

With all the concerning news about microfinance, it is good to remember that microfinance continues to grow and prosper despite challenges. Kiva has a strong presence in East Asia.

8.  Mobile technology and Health:  Mobile Money in mHealth source: CGAP Technology Blog

As Kiva looks to diversify into new products, we may consider initiatives that directly impact health outcomes.