Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
This paper presents the findings from research conducted by the Poverty Outreach Working Group (POWG) at the SEEP Network on approaches among microenterprise development (MD) organizations aimed at the very poor. The underlying data in the research are case study responses submitted by twelve organizations operating around the globe: five in Africa (Trickle Up in Mali, Freedom From Hunger with Reseau des Caisses Populaires du Burkina in Burkina Faso, CARE in Rwanda, Kenya BDS in Kenya, and Alexandria Business Association in Egypt), five in Asia (Nirdhan in Nepal, Activists for Social Alterntives in India, Christian Children’s Fund/LEEP in India, PACT/WORTH in Nepal, MEDA in Pakistan), and two in South America (Pro Mujer in Peru, Friendship Bridge in Guatemala). POWG members selected these programs with the input by key industry specialists, as they were identified them as organizations aiming to reach and serve very poor people. The hope was that studying their methodologies would lead to a list of good practices to share with the entire industry. Reflecting this focus, the case study questions were structured around four hypotheses that POWG developed of what an organization must do to be successful in serving the very poor: 1.Deliberately targeting very poor people. 2.Offering products and/or services designed specifically for the needs of very poor people. 3. Establishing a strong institutional culture of commitment to serving very poor people. 4. Accepting that the greater the institution’s efforts at reaching deeper below the povertyline, the longer it will take to achieve financial sustainability.