A growing unrest is stirring the global microcredit market. Some are asking whether microcredit has really benefited the poor. Although the spotlight might be uncomfortable, microfinance institutions should welcome this soul searching.
It is difficult to know how any one of us can make a difference in any of our nation's most troubling problems. But, what if the money stored in our wallets had a new purpose, even just for a short amount of time?
The slum communities are densely packed, with winding paths that have no street names, let alone house numbers, and so although Nilesh has spent time in these neighborhoods, he must often rely on the local residents to be pointed in the direction of the next client.
Examples abound of women in the developing world receiving loans, building businesses, and employing others with their capital, along with investing in education and infrastructure for their families and communities.
I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to South Africa, where I spoke about microlending, financial independence, and women's empowerment to more than 1,000 women during meetings held in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.