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An interesting event happening at MercyCorps in NYC: Creating Sustainable Microfinance: A Panel Discussion Moderated by Caitlin Weaver, Chair of the Microfinance Club of New York Panelists Include: Camilla Nestor, Vice President of Microfinance, Grameen Foundation Bill Abrams, President, Trickle Up Beth Ellen Dunphe, Director of Development, Project Enterprise

While Mohammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering microfinance work in Bangladesh just three years ago, the popularity of providing the poor with collateral-free loans and other financial services to support their businesses is at an all-time high. New microfinance models seek to make lending even more direct. Yet as the practice of microfinance has begun to mature and expand, so too have concerns over how to implement it most effectively. What are the implications when a nonprofit organization offers microfinance to an impoverished community but does not provide basic health or social services? Can a single microfinance model work on different continents? How might nonprofits, lenders and governments ensure that micro-loans lead to lasting change not just for the borrowers, but for their entire families and communities?

These are among the questions to be addressed at this panel discussion hosted by Mercy Corps'

Action Center to End World Hunger in Battery Park City. Wednesday, August 5, 7:00PM Mercy Corps’ Action Center to End World Hunger 6 River Terrace Battery Park City, New York

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Thank you for the enlightening words

Having a bit of knowledge on microfinance and how it can assist small holder farmers and small business persons in the Southern African region, I believe that this entirely depends on the political will from the government of the day in terms of supporting the establishment of fully functioning micro finance institutions,

However, some might see micro finance institutions as a threat to big banks, but they are the closest channels in which the low income communities can access finance for their livelihoods,.

Housing microfinance in Zimbabwe is yet to be realised ,partly because of the 9 year economic crisis that made it impossible to set any microfinance institutions. Secondly, the housing groups and co-operatives needed to have come together , form a critical mass and engage the policy makers in ensuring that housing microfinance institutions are established and serve the interests of the low income communities.

I guess at the end of the day, the success of any micro finance institution depends on the government policies, its ideology and whether it believes that the low income communities from both the urban and rural areas , should have access to microfinance.

Furthermore, an informed citizen and a critical mass is important in pushing the policy makers in putting mechanisms that will faciliate the sustainable livelihoods of the low income communities.

I guess given the current scenario where the world is trying to wake up from the economic recession that has negatively affected many people,especially the poor, the international financial institutions,donors and other well wishers should now come up with ways of supporting the establishment and sustainability of microfinance institutions, if poverty eradication is to be realised,especially in the Global South,


Tafadzwa R.Muropa Harare,Zimbabwe