Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
Community-Based Microfinance for Financial Inclusion
Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
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This course charts the journey from microcredit and microfinance to a more holistic financial inclusion agenda, with a focus on community-owned and based microfinance models. Participants will undertake in-depth study of member-owned models, such as Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), Self-Help-Groups (SHGs), Financial Cooperatives, and Credit Unions, along with study of the latest developments and innovations on the ground, including informal Savings Groups linkages with Banks and MFIs, mobile banking, II tier institutions, and value-chain finance.
- Understand the role of financial services in an inclusive economy and the role of community-based microfinance institutions in the financial inclusion agenda;
- Understand the financial behaviour of low-income population groups to learn the principles of designing more appropriate financial products, especially savings, insurance, payment services, value-chain finance, and innovative models of community-based financing;
- Obtain an in-depth understanding of different community-based microfinance models such as village savings and loan associations (or Savings Groups), self-help groups, SACCOs, and credit unions. Learn about the ways in which different member-owned institutions apply cooperative principles to ensure the delivery of appropriate financial products, and about linking VSLAs and SHGs with Banks and MFIs;
- Explore real-world examples of establishing multi-tier institutions and networks, building linkages with private sector financial institutions, the use of mobile banking, and the opportunities and challenges of financial products delivery by agriculture co-ops;
- Learn about the regulations, structures, and practices for balancing flexibility and risk management in different community-based microfinance models;
- Learn about national regulatory policies and supervision structures for community-based microfinance models, and the importance of self-regulation; and
- Gain valuable hands-on knowledge through visits to successful community-based microfinance institutions, interaction with leading sector practitioners, and opportunities for intensive exchange with peers.
- Develop strategies for strengthening program design, management, and product design capacities in community-based microfinance programming in remote rural areas and underserved urban communities;
- Develop strategies for banks, formal microfinance institutions, and various value-chain actors to reach informal Savings Groups and serve them effectively;
- Enhance capacity to analyze macro policies and identify research priorities to enable families operating in the informal sector to participate more meaningfully in the economy; and
- Develop approaches to integrate community-based microfinance models into strategies for improving food security, building sustainable livelihoods, enhancing women’s empowerment, and attaining broad development outcomes.
Who should take the Program?
This program is intended for mid-to-senior-level practitioners from NGOs, financial cooperatives, rural finance institutions, MFIs, and banks interested in serving rural regions; and also for banking regulators and government officials, trainers, and donors engaged with a financial inclusion agenda. Two years’ work experience in microfinance or in the field of economic development is desirable.
A few partial or full scholarships are available for qualified applicants. Women practitioners are especially encouraged to apply. Scholarships are available through the MasterCard Foundation Microfinance Scholars Program.