Zidisha Turns Microfinance on its Head

While conducting fieldwork for a microfinance organization in West Africa in 2006, Zidisha Microfinance founder Julia Kurnia noticed something startling. Loans that were funded at zero interest by well-meaning participants at popular microlending websites were costing the impoverished beneficiaries more than 35% on average in interest and fees. The exorbitant rates were charged by the local intermediary organizations that administered … [Read more…]

Points to Ponder: What is Microfinance?

By Diane Lourdes Dick.  What is microfinance? Does the term refer to a series of financial transactions, or does it suggest a social movement? Is microfinance defined by qualitative factors, or in terms of the economic value of each loan? If the latter, is the value ceiling set in real or relative terms? If the former, what are … [Read more…]

The Borgen Project’s 2010 Summer Bash

The Borgen Project is an innovative, national campaign that is bringing political attention to global poverty. Join a diverse crowd, ranging from college students to diplomats at The Borgen Project’s 2010 Summer Bash. The event is Thursday, August 5th at The Triple Door in Downtown Seattle. Doors open at 6PM and tickets can be purchased online … [Read more…]

Microfinance’s Circular Firing Squad

I, like many in the microfinance community, have been following the debate that David Roodman initiated on his Open Book blog with regard to Kiva‘s transparency. It’s a worthwhile discussion, certainly, and one that has already prompted action from Kiva–with a change to their “How Kiva Works” page–and from constituents–with at least one lender calling for a general strike on … [Read more…]

Nine Questions to Ask Every Microfinance Institution

How can you, a potential investor in microfinance, determine which microfinance institutions are the best place for your investment? Grameen Foundation offers two key questions investors should be asking: Are microfinance institutions reaching poor clients? Are microfinance institutions helping move clients out of poverty? To determine the answer to these questions, you need to drill … [Read more…]