Showing posts with label Microfinance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Microfinance. Show all posts

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A History of Microfinance - Muhammad Yunus

This lecture by microfinance pioneer and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, outlines the history of microfinance - the origins of the idea, how it works, and what the future holds. Microfinance is a fascinating and empowering innovation in finance, and essentially deploys the power of the market to help people help themselves. The main point is to help people in poverty to be able to become entrepreneurs; be it buying a goat to milk, or chickens to lay eggs to sell, or buying a sewing machine, or bike; the point is to provide low cost financing on a small scale to empower people to lift themselves and their families out of poverty through small business. Thanks to technology and the internet we can all now easily participate in microfinance through websites like Kiva - think of it like microfinance 2.0

Prof. Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi economist and founder of the Grameen Bank, an institution that provides microcredit to help its clients establish creditworthiness and financial self-sufficiency. In 2006 Yunus and Grameen received the Nobel Peace Prize. Yunus himself has received several other national and international honors. He is a member of advisory board at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. Previously, he was a professor of economics at Chittagong University where he developed the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. He is the author of Banker to the Poor and two books on Social Business Models, and a founding board member of Grameen America and Grameen Foundation.

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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Microfinance - Kiva

As part of the week's focus on microfinance documentaries, I thought I would round up a couple of documentaries on Kiva. is web 2.0 applied to microfinance. Internet users can browse through entrepreneurs' profiles and decide who to make a loan to, starting with lending as little as $25. It's quite a neat concept and a lot of fun. Anway, the main documentary for this post is called "Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance" - its a fantastic piece of data visualization which shows the flow of microfinance loans around the world on Kiva's network.

Also worth watching are:
-How Kiva Works
-What Did They Do With My $25 Loan?
-A Fistful Of Dollars

Visit and get involved yourself:

Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance from Kiva on Vimeo.

Finance Documentaries:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

India - Microfinance, banking on debt

This documentary (thanks Al Jazeera) delves into the darker side of microfinance. With all financial innovation, indeed with much of finance and banking, there are good uses and bad uses. There are risks to everything - this is especially true in finance. Indeed, it can be said that debt is an accelerant, or fuel - it will speed your progress, regardless of where you are progressing to. But there is also the practitioner and regulator factors; where a fast growing industry with loose regulations can see less professional operators push the limits.

Microfinance has long been seen as a way to lift the destitute out of poverty. But recently it has been hit by headlines about scores of Indian borrowers driven to suicide. Critics say the industry has grown too fast, with loose regulation creating multiple loans to overextended borrowers and allowing some unscrupulous players to thrive.
A crackdown has now frozen microlending in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India's most important microfinance market, with the central bank stepping in to try and stop microfinance institutions from going bankrupt. Yet supporters for microfinance argue that extending credit to the poor, mostly women, has fostered small businesses, helped promote gender equality, lifted incomes, and improved access to food and education for some of the world's most desperate citizens.
This week on 101 East we ask, what is the future of microcredit in India? Can it improve people's lives, or is it driving the poor into new cycles of unending debt?

Finance Documentaries:

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Small Fortunes - Microcredit and the Future of Poverty

Microfinance is essentially taking the common practices of banking and finance that form an integral part of the economy, and scaling them down to apply to helping entrepreneurs lift themselves out of poverty. This documentary looks at the impact and development of microfinance, including Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. Microfinance or microcredit shows the good side of financial innovation, where financial and banking practices adapt to another way of doing things with positive effects. Of course, as with modern and sophisticated financial innovation, care has to be taken in its use to gain the optimal effect.

Millions of the world’s poorest—mostly women—who are unable to provide the necessary collateral to secure a traditional loan are turning to microcredit institutions for help. These institutions give “micro” loans, often for less than $100, to those for whom the entrepreneurial spirit is still in its purest, most basic form. Whether it’s through milking a buffalo, selling tortillas, or weaving cloth, most borrowers are able to pay back their loans—and have enough profits to reinvest in their businesses, their homes, and their children.
Produced by award-winning filmmakers Sterling Van Wagenen and Matt Whitaker, Small Fortunes explores the issues of poverty and microcredit as it features interviews with numerous recipients of small loans in locales ranging from India to the Philippines to New York City. The documentary tells the stories of how short-term loans of even a few dollars have resulted in dramatic changes in lifestyles for families who otherwise would have no means of lifting themselves out of their poverty.
This BYU Broadcasting production was made possible by generous contributions from Angel Partners and the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance.

Finance Documentaries:

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Wealth of Opportunity - Unitus Microfinance Documentary

Microfinance is a promising field of finance whereby financial institutions make small loans to entrepreneurs in poverty stricken nations, allowing them to start small businesses without having to pay usurious interest rates. The promise of micro-finance (also known as micro-credit or micro-lending) is to use market based solutions to help people elevate themselves and their communities from poverty. I'll be featuring a series of documentaries on micro-finance to highlight the field and hopefully generate some interest - please comment below if you have any tips for documentaries to add.

We created this 14 minute documentary to illuminate the work Unitus is doing in the field of microfinance. It was filmed on location in 2009 in Kenya and India.

Wealth of Opportunity (Unitus Microfinance Documentary) from NonFiction Media on Vimeo.

Finance Documentaries: