Microfinance School > Life Cycle Events

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Serie: Microfinance School

  1. Banking the Unbanked


    Microfinance institutions are now present in almost every country in the world, and are providing access to financial services to millions of people. In this film we look at typical microfinance tech-nologies and methodologies in three very different countries, but with similar needs. Access to fi-nancial services such as savings, loans and insurance is an important tool to help poor people smooth out the negative effects of little and fluctuating income.

  2. Human Capital


    Access to money alone is often not enough to lift people out of poverty. In order to facilitate a social change you need be healthy and you need knowledge. In Human Capital we look at a holistic ap-proach to microfinance. Many microfinance institutions combine financial services with education and health programs with the aim of long-term social change. What are the benefits and what are the disadvantages of such an approach? How do you measure social change?

  3. Banking woman


    Microfinance institutions traditionally have targeted women. They have proven to be more reliable debtors and the loans tend to bring more benefit to the whole family. A dollar to a woman is a dol-lar to the whole family, so to speak. In this film we focus on microfinance projects and/or institu-tions targeting women especially. How are these projects different from microfinance that targets both genders? How can access to financial services be an effective tool towards a gender equal soci-ety, both economically and socially?

  4. Best Practise: Miles for smiles


    Katherine Kitongo identified a problem in Ugandan markets. The different stalls where often run by single mothers forced to bring their children to work with them. It is a double whammy; the children did not go to school and the mothers could not run their business as effective as they wanted to. Katherine's answer was Miles to Smiles, a daycare center for the children of the women in the mar-ket. And the fees for the daycare center? Katherine set up a loan and savings group for the mothers at the center.

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What does it mean to be poor? What happens if someone in your family gets sick or your house needs repair? Such life cycle events can push poor people into extreme poverty. In this film we see how access to financial services can limit the effects of such events, and despite of a marginal life, help households maintain their dignity.

We all need money. Cash to pay for the needs we have during the day and a lifetime. There are several needs to fill. Food, clothes, books for school, housing and other items for consumption. Further, we secure and need to insure ourselves towards accidents and emergencies. The third need is connected to investments. Investing opportunities may not stay for long and the chance may be gone if the cash is not available when the chance is given. Finally, and as a fourth reason to what money is needed for; lifecycle events –celebrations such as wedding, anniversaries and funerals. When money is not available, all these needs can bring a poor person further down in the poverty trap.

Not all financial services are well fitted to the different needs. A loan should be invested so that interest and the principals can be repaid. Savings is a good back-up for an emergency and so on. A variety of services is needed to fill the needs.