• Non-ICIMOD Publication
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Microfinance: Reaching poor rural women

  • Sharma, M.

Among financial institutions serving poor households around the world, micro-finance programmes have emerged as important players. These programmes typically make small loans &mdash; sometimes as small as $50 to $100, and sometimes as large as several thousand dollars &mdash; to households lacking access to formal-sector banks. One important achievement of the microfinance movement has been its relative success in deliberately reaching out to poor women living in diverse socio-economic environments. Of the nearly 90,000 village bank members worldwide that have received loans from the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA), 95 percent are women. The Association for Social Advancement (ASA), one of the most prominent microfinance institutions in Bangladesh, has provided US$200 million exclusively to women borrowers. In Malawi, 95 percent of loans provided by the Malawi Muzdi Fund go to women borrowers. Since 1979, Women&rsquo;s World Banking has made more than 200,000 loans to low-income women around the world. Literally hundreds of similar examples can be found in Asia, Africa and Latin America.<br /> &nbsp;

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  • Journal:
    In Pinstrup-Andersen, P; Pandya-Lorch, R (ed) (2001) The Unfinished Business: Perspectives on Overcoming Hunger, Poverty and Environmental Degradation. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washinton D.C., USA: http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/books/ufa/ufa_ch31.pdf
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