Microfinance Resources

Microfinance Resources

A guide to organizations worldwide that are working in microfinance and microcredit.
***Those organizations with an asterisk identify them as broad databases on microfinancing.

ACCION International: The mission of ACCION International is to give people the tools they need to work their way out of poverty. By providing "micro" loans and business training to poor women and men who start their own businesses, ACCION's partner lending organizations help people work their own way up the economic ladder, with dignity and pride. Available in English, French, and Spanish.

Alternative Finance: The Alternative Finance Website is the forum for MFI practitioners and researchers to access otherwise unpublished documents and information on all aspects of alternative and microfinance. They hold a broad and rapidly expanding article database in English and Spanish. See their comprehensive list on microfinancing.

Bankakademie International: Bankakademie International is internationally known for innovative training and consulting services to strengthen the financial sector in transition countries and developing economies. Bankakademie International is part of Bankakademie, the leading bank training and consultancy institute in Germany.

Banking With The Poor: The Banking With The Poor Network is a network of some 20 national policy institutions, commercial banks and NGOs from eight countries in Asia - namely Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Its objective is to link microfinance with the financial system.

***(CGAP) Consultative Group to Assist the Poor: CGAP is a consortium of 33 public and private development agencies working together to expand access to financial services for the poor in developing countries. Multilingual information available.

CowFund: CowFund is an Australian nonprofit initiative that aims to support the delivery of microcredit projects to developing communities in Asia.

European Microfinance Program: The European Microfinance Program (EMP) is the first of its kind in Europe. The EMP is aimed at students who want to complete a specialization in microfinance and acquire expertise by working in a developing country. It provides students with a multidisciplinary approach to the challenges facing the microfinance sector today.

FINCA (Fundación Internacional para la Asistencia Comunitaria) International: FINCA provides financial services to the world's poorest families so they can create their own jobs, raise household incomes, and improve their standard of living. They deliver these services through a global network of locally managed, self-supporting institutions. While many agencies and organizations provide small loans to low-income families, not all use the village banking method. Developed by FINCA Founder John Hatch, the village banking method is unique in the responsibility and autonomy given borrowers in running their banks and in its emphasis on community, as well as individual, development.

***The Global Development Research Center (GDRC): The Global Development Research Center is a virtual organization that carries out initiatives in education, research and practices. The Virtual Library on Microcredit is a repository of information on alternative, non-conventional financial systems and microfinance/microcredit issues (available in English, French, Spanish, and Japanese). Case Studies and Illustrations on Microcredit.

Grameen Bank: Grameen Bank invented the concept and practice of micro-credit, providing working capital to the poorest of the poor without demanding collateral in order to remove poverty from Bangladesh. The bank has been in operation since 1983 and was founded by Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Imp-Act (Improving the Impact of Microfinance on Poverty: Action Research Programme): Imp-Act supports microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing their own social performance management (SPM) systems.

INAFI (International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions): A network of alternative microfinance organizations known for their quality in the presentation and innovation of technical services and development that contributes to the consolidation of microfinance's as instruments to improve the quality of life for the poor in Latin America. Available in English and Spanish.

International Year of Microcredit 2005: Partners in the International Year of Microcredit 2005 Microfinance Partners is defined broadly to include microfinance providers, the private sector (financial and corporate), academia, civil society and NGOs. Website lists links to organizations involved in microfinancing.

The Journal of Microfinance: The Journal of Microfinance is a forum for the sharing of ideas and information pertaining to the practice of microfinance and microenterprise development. The Journal's purpose is to influence practice by focusing on experiences and lessons learned from the field. *This journal requires a paid subscription to view articles.

Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps works amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against impossible odds. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided $1 billion in assistance to people in 82 nations. Mercy Corps pursues its mission through emergency relief services that assist people afflicted by conflict or disaster; Sustainable economic development that integrates agriculture, health, housing and infrastructure, economic development, education and environment, and local management; and civil society initiatives that promote citizen participation, accountability, conflict management and the rule of law.

The Microbanking Bulletin: The MicroBanking Bulletin (MBB) is the premier benchmarking source for the microfinance industry. Its benchmarks are widely used by investors, donors and other service providers to facilitate greater standardization and a better understanding of the development of the microfinance sector. Originally an output of the MicroBanking Standards Project, the MBB is one of the principal products offered by the MIX (Microfinance Information eXchange).

MicroCapital: MicroCapital is a news and research initiative on international microfinance investment led by David Satterthwaite, housed in Prisma MicroFinance, a for-profit microfinance institution (MFI).

Microcredit Summit: The Microcredit Summit Campaign brings together microcredit practitioners, advocates, educational institutions, donor agencies, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and others involved with microcredit to promote best practices in the field, to learn from each other, and to work towards reaching their goal.

Microfinance Technical Support Website: The purpose of this website is to provide support services to users of CGAP's Business Planning and Financial Modeling Handbook, including the Microfin projection model.

The Microfinance Centre (MFC) for Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States: The MFC is an international, grass-root network of over 90 microfinance institutions from the region. MFC's mission is to contribute to poverty reduction and human potential development by promoting a socially oriented and sustainable microfinance sector that provides adequate financial and non-financial services to a large number of poor families and micro-entrepreneurs.

***The Microfinance Gateway: With over 5,300 documents in their virtual library, the Microfinance Gateway is the most comprehensive source of information for and about the microfinance industry. It includes research and publications, discussion groups, specialized resource centers, organization and consultant profiles, and the latest news, events, and job opportunities in microfinance.

Designed to serve the needs of a growing and changing industry, the Gateway also functions as an information exchange platform where practitioners can contribute publications, op-ed or thought pieces, news, conference and workshop announcements, and employment vacancies.

Microfinance Management Institute: The mission of the Microfinance Management Institute (MFMI) is to advance capacity in microfinance management worldwide. The MFMI was co-founded in July 2003 by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), a secretariat of the World Bank, and the Open Society Institute (OSI), New York.

The Microfinance Network: The MicroFinance Network (MFN) is a global association of leading microfinance institutions committed to improving the quality of life of the poor through the provision of credit, savings, and other financial services. Network members believe in applying a commercial approach to the establishment of sustainable financial institutions that reach large volumes of clients who are not served by traditional financial institutions.

MicroLinks: MicroLINKS is a dynamic knowledge-sharing Web site designed to improve the impact of USAID-funded microenterprise programs and activities. Created through USAID's Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project, microLINKS allows the Microenterprise Development office to share cutting-edge research with microenterprise development and financial services practitioners, USAID Mission staff, and other interested individuals and organizations while also serving as a meeting place through which visitors can share their own experiences and knowledge.

Micro-Save: MicroSave is a unique project that promotes the development of savings and other more client-responsive financial services among microfinance institutions (MFIs).

MicroVest: Created as a capital-mobilizing intermediary for microfinance institutions (MFIs) MicroVest offers investors the opportunity to invest directly in an instrument that facilitates the growth of microfinance institutions while maintaining focus on the return of principal and fiduciary responsibility. MicroVest One's global investments reach viable, proven MFIs seeking capital to continue their growth. Instruments include debt, subordinated debt, loan guarantees, equity (with an exit strategy), and quasi-equity sub-debt. Investments are made in existing financial institutions that provide financial services to low-income based enterprises, and are profitable, growth-oriented, and well-managed.

The Mix Market: The MIX MARKET ™ is a global, web-based, microfinance information platform. It provides information to sector actors and the public at large on microfinance institutions (MFIs) worldwide, public and private funds that invest in microfinance, MFI networks, raters/external evaluators, advisory firms, and governmental and regulatory agencies. The MIX Market seeks to develop a transparent information market to link MFIs worldwide with Investors and Donors and promote greater investment and information flows.

Oikocredit: Started as a pioneer in the field of development financing, Oikocredit is one of the largest financiers of the microfinance sector worldwide. Oikocredit is one of the few ethical investment funds, which finances development projects in the South benefiting disadvantaged and marginalized people. Privately owned, Oikocredit is a unique cooperative society, which encourages investors to invest their funds in a socially responsible manner.

PlaNet Finance: PlaNet Finance's ambition is to become a platform for bringing together those involved in the microfinance sector, while developing practical tools with the potential for furthering the aims of microfinance.

ProMiS: ProMiS (Promotion of the Microfinance Sector) is a comprehensive cooperation programme implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka in collaboration with German Technical Cooperation(GTZ). The overall goal of ProMiS is to enhance and improve in a sustainable manner, the services offered by selected microfinance institutions (MFIs) to the poorer sections of society and to micro and small enterprises.

Rural Finance Learning Centre: Rural Finance is about providing financial services for people living in rural areas. This Learning Centre aims to assist organizations in developing countries to build their capacity to deliver improved financial services which meet the needs of rural households.

SEEP Network: The SEEP Network is an organization of more than 50 international private and voluntary organizations that support micro and small business and microfinance institutions in the developing world.

Student Microfinance Initiative (SMI): The Student Microfinance Initiative (SMI) is an international student network dedicated to the promotion of microfinance around the world. SMI works with students in the United States and abroad developing educational and outreach programs focusing on maximizing impact at a reasonable cost.

Tufts University: The Fletcher School: Provides information about working in the field of microfinance, as well as providing links to various industry leaders, both governmental and non-governmental. The site also lists databases and listings for jobs in microfinance.

United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) : Microfinance Matters online newsletter published by the UNCDF.

UNITUS: Global Microfinance Accelerator: Unitus accelerates the growth of carefully selected, highest-potential small and mid-sized microfinance institutions (MFIs) through significant investments in capital and active involvement in capacity-building, allowing millions of poor people to improve their standard of living by gaining access to microfinance products and services.

To learn more about the evolution of microfinance, see The History of Microfinance.

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