As we approach our 20th anniversary in 2014, we’re beginning to craft our vision for the future as a nonprofit impact investor dedicated to expanding opportunity for people living in poverty.
A couple weeks ago I moderated a panel on Sustainable Health Services Models at the 6th Village Banking Forum held this year in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Two of our partners, Pro Mujer in Nicaragua and ESPOIR, presented what they had learned about what it takes to implement high performing health services programs via the village bank platform. While much was shared, one main takeaway I had was the importance of investing in staff capacity, particularly investing in those on the “frontline” of integrated service delivery with clients.
Members of our team are in Guayaquil, Ecuador this week to attend the Latin American Forum on Village Banks (the Forum) from August 7-9. The Forum is a regional conference that brings together actors in the financial inclusion space to discuss different methods of strengthening village banks*—one of the only means by which people living in poverty can access affordable financial services such as loans and savings accounts.
Microfinance has been promoted as one of the most successful economic innovations for global financial inclusion for people living in poverty. Yet, a recent study and several articles have come out questioning the value of traditional microfinance institutions to permanently lift people out of poverty.