Microfinance World – News Digest – 3/11/09

Kiva.org Reaches $100 Million(Rs 500 crore) in Microloans Around the Globe

October marks two considerable milestones for Kiva.org — the world’s first micro-lending website for the working poor. This month, Kiva.org celebrates its fourth anniversary, in addition to reaching over $100 million in loans.

Since launching in October 2005, Kiva.org has provided loans to more than 239,000 entrepreneurs in over 50 countries. Upwards of 573,000 lenders have given through Kiva.org, lending over $100 million at the end of October 2009 – an increase of nearly $60 million since the same time last year. Rest of the article

Actress Yeardley Smith Donates $1.14 Million to Support Microfinance

smith_as_lisaYeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson on the award-winning animated television series, The Simpsons, has joined the ranks of microfinance’s most generous and visionary supporters with a combined donation of $1.14 million to Grameen Foundation and Fonkoze, a Haitian microfinance institution.

The donation of $900,000 to Grameen Foundation will support a new initiative geared toward expanding micro-loans and other sustainable opportunities for people living at the very bottom of the economic ladder. The donation of $240,000 to Fonkoze is one of the largest individual gifts the organization has ever received and will help strengthen its institutional support for its front line staff.Rest of the article

Expert: Microfinance doesn’t always empower women

Microfinance fails to meet the needs of successful women entrepreneurs who want to expand their businesses, a United Nations expert said Friday.

Microfinance is aimed at improving the lives of the world’s poor by offering them access to basic financial services such as loans that they ordinarily wouldn’t qualify for. But it has its limitations, said Carolyn Hannan, director of the U.N.’s division for the advancement of women.

“Microfinance has not necessarily always empowered women and, in particular, it has failed to meet the needs of successful women entrepreneurs who are wishing to expand their businesses,” said Hannan.

The Swedish national, speaking in Vienna about a recent U.N. report on the role of women in development, also said microfinance institutions do not always help the neediest. “While they’ve certainly been very successful in reaching out to women, they’ve not always reached the most poor among women,” Hannan said. Rest of the article

Mending micro-credit in China

The pursuit of profits at the expense of poverty stricken individuals has the China Association of Microfinance (CAM) calling for improved industry self-regulation and a social performance assessment of the country’s micro-credit institutions at a micro-finance forum held recently in Beijing.

The micro-credit institutions (MCIs) need to improve their social performance management and assessment systems to help the investors and regulators with better decision making and regulations, Bai Chengyu, secretary general of the CAM, told the China Microfinance Summit Forum 2009. Rest of the article

Carbon Manna Africa Ltd. Announces Collaboration With the Town of Kogelo, Kenya – the Ancestral Home of President Barack Obama

Carbon Manna Unlimited in San Diego, California, a non-profit standards-setting organization popularizing the world’s first form of non-debt-based microfinance — the highly-scalable, cell-phone-based Carbon Micro-PROFIT-Sharing system — announced today an exclusive agreement between its affiliate, Carbon Manna Africa Ltd. (Nairobi, Kenya), and the Kogelo Community Development Foundation (KCDF) in Kogelo, Kenya. Kogelo is the childhood hometown of U.S. President Barack Obama’s late father.Rest of the article

Shell launches micro credit scheme for Ijaw women

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) has instituted a micro credit scheme for the Ijaw Mothers Union, a socio-economic group, to finance their businesses. About N6 million has been set aside for the scheme.

The beneficiaries are set in batches. The first batch comprising about 100 women will benefit from the revolving loan, and have the chance to expand existing businesses or set up new ones. Manuela George-Izunwa, the Rivers State Commissioner for Women Affairs, speaking at the presentation of the cheque to the union in Port Harcourt, at the weekend, said the initiative is a good way of empowering women to take their rightful place in society.More

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