In 2012, microfinance has a strong global following. The success stories of empowered individuals whose lives are made better by microfinance are many, and microfinance academics and practitioners constantly seek to expand the knowledge and application of microfinance to provide poor and low-income individuals with financial services and training.
But there many questions about microfinance remain. For example, should microfinance be value-driven or profit-driven? Is microfinance an industry? Or is it a movement?
The 2012 Month of Microfinance (MoMF) is a coalition of student-led and student-focused organizations dedicated to exploring these types of questions. By encouraging critical conversations and awareness of microfinance practices, this academic movement aims to achieve three critical objectives:
1) To provide educational opportunities for students and their communities and prepare students to become the next generation of microfinance practitioners
2) To raise awareness and funds for domestic and global microfinance
3) To unite the student microfinance movement in coordinated and shared events
Throughout the month of April, students at participating colleges, universities, and high schools will host and participate in campus events related to microfinance. The MoMF will bridge microfinance in the professional world and microfinance in the academic world through student-led events.
Events will include:
- Hosting professional guest speakers
- Showing documentaries about microfinance
- Fundraising for microfinance institutions
- Hosting microfinance discussion groups
- Writing letters to local community newspapers
- Providing information about microfinance to other students
Each student-hosted event will focus on the definition of microfinance, the groups that benefit from microfinance, and the relationship between client-centered and profit-driven microfinance.
MoMF partner organizations also host virtual events through webinars and blogs, as well as community and educational events. Check out the nationwide event list for complete details.
Take a few minutes to browse the Month of Microfinance website to find out more about this nationwide academic movement happening in April. Learn how you can host awareness and fundraising activities or partner with MoMF here.
Shaw Humphrey is an associate professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington and the founder the Month of Microfinance.