Microfinance efforts show that the poor are indeed creditworthy, and that women borrowers in particular spend the proceeds from their businesses in ways that have a longer-lasting, more profound impact on the lives of their families.
The meagre savings that the poor do manage to accumulate are rarely enough and there is a need for insurance against unfortunate events such as going hungry, undernourishment for children, and pulling children out of school.
70% of India's population is excluded from formal financial services that most people reading this blog take for granted. If financial services are to become a reality, they have to be delivered non-traditionally.
A poverty charity reminds us about the desperate plight of the poor in squalid villages. As human beings and as global citizens, we are simultaneously moved to action and justifiably suspicious of hucksterism.
Many people committed to social justice have a built-in assumption that nonprofits are inherently more virtuous than for-profit companies. However, for-profit businesses have been the primary engines of wealth creation in the modern world.
I had the opportunity to speak at Star Island's 2010 International Affairs Conference off the coast of New Hampshire. It was a very moving experience as I got the chance to interact with a unique group of people.
As apartheid died in 1994, Shared Interest was born. Operating today from humble offices on a noisy New York side street, the organization carries forward the pragmatic realism which ended apartheid politically.
In Ethiopia, some 44,000 Somali refugees are scattered among four refugee camps, living in the arid heat on parched land. Most of these refugees survive on one meal a day and are dependent on humanitarian aid.
Ten months ago, a young man named Haward appeared on Vittana.org. He was just $1,000 away from finishing law school in Nicaragua. Eleven Vittana lenders from cities around the world loaned Haward the money.
Moderate results are disappointing if you were expecting microfinance to cure poverty. But they are just what you'd expect if you think microfinance is about bringing financial services to people who never had them before.