This is not volunteerism for the sake of volunteerism, but rather a new business model for solving some of the real problems impeding the scale, sustainability, and impact of microfinance and T4D initiatives. A greater and more strategic use of volunteers can help the field to realize, more rapidly, strategic and operational improvements.
In Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Taking Another Look, Odell examines studies which have demonstrated that microfinance helps poor people better cope with financial shocks that often upend their lives. It also addresses the difficulties in isolating microfinance’s impact from the myriad forces at play in poor people’s lives.
Milena started her first business – a juice shop – in her hometown of Palos Blancos, Bolivia. However, after a long illness and hospital stay, she lost all of her savings and found herself homeless, with two daughters to care for and only 70 bolivianos (about $10) to her name.
Zolina is a client of Fonkoze, the largest microfinance institution (MFI) in Haiti. The mother of seven school-aged children, she was having difficulty making ends meet, so she took out a loan to purchase consumable items such as coffee, beans, peas, mushrooms, potatoes and bananas to sell at the market.
Grameen Foundation's Growth Guarantees program was launched in 2005 to increase microfinance clients’ access to loans by guaranteeing local funding for the microfinance institutions (MFIs) that serve them.
Grameen Foundation has worked in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1999, focusing on the poorest people, living in remote rural areas.
Angel connected with his local Community Knowledge Worker (CKW), who is trained by Grameen Foundation and has a smartphone full of information about crop management, market prices, and fair trade certification requirements. Angel has consulted his CKW regularly to help him grow better crops and prevent pests and disease. As he says, “I have used the CKW system four times now. Each time the information has been very useful.”