microfinance

Humanosphere
10:53 am
Wed July 6, 2011

Mysterious microfinance firm re-emerges

Indian woman Jahan Bano, right, a microfinance beneficiary makes lime stone along with her daughter at her factory in Mumbai, India, March 2011. Long heralded as a way to lift the downtrodden out of poverty, microfinance has come under a cloud.
Associated Press

A year ago the Seattle microfinance firm Unitus closed its doors, laid off most of its staff and didn’t really tell anybody (including some major donors) why it did so.

Unitus, which had claimed its primary mission was to help poor people, also happened to have made a lot of money — having invested in an Indian company, SKS Microfinance, which had pursued this anti-poverty financing scheme as a for-profit venture.

Now, Unitus has been resurrected as Unitus Labs.

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Humanosphere
12:28 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Five reasons why microfinance is in crisis – and why it matters

TW Collins Flickr

The popular anti-poverty scheme of providing small loans and other financial services to poor people, generally known as microfinance, is in crisis.

“In one sense, you could say it’s a coming of age,” says Alex Counts, CEO at the Grameen Foundation, a leading non-profit microfinance organization with offices in Seattle and Washington D.C.. “Controversy often comes along with growing in size and impact.”

You could also say microfinance is actually suffering from several different crises: An external appearance of a crisis based on a damaged public image; a related, but slightly different, internal “identity crisis” and, at least according to one leading observer, a cash crisis in reverse — too much money.

Here are five reasons for the crisis:

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
12:22 pm
Tue November 16, 2010

$500 million to help world's poor save money

 It's described as the largest philanthropic gift ever made aimed at helping the poor  save money and provide access to financial services. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $500 million pledge was announced at a Seattle gathering attended by finance and banking leaders representing 38 nations.

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