Isabel Whisson

November 9, 2017

How BRAC Microfinance recovered from the Ebola crisis

How do we build resilience during and after a crisis? A new GDI case study from BRAC offers insight into lessons learned from the West Africa Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015, highlighting what can be done to strengthen organisations responding and with the people they serve.
November 8, 2017

BRAC in Uganda’s transition to a bank and what it means for customers

BRAC in Uganda shares strategy and sustainability insights from its transition from an MFI to a bank.
December 14, 2016

Client-centricity at scale: The BRAC Smart Certification journey

As a non-profit dedicated to poverty reduction, client welfare has been central to BRAC’s mission since its inception in 1972. In Bangladesh in general, almost all microfinance institutions are non-profits, and so microfinance has always been seen as a tool for alleviating poverty in the country.
October 19, 2016

Her hands trembled when she borrowed her first $64; Now she’s giving advice to BRAC

The integration of mobile money into microfinance operations is one of the most exciting yet challenging prospects facing microfinance providers today. Mobile money presents a fast, cost-efficient and flexible alternative delivery channel through which money can be transferred, loans can be repaid and savings can be deposited.
March 15, 2016

Finance for flood-hit families: Reducing risk and raising resilience

What are some of the most effective innovations taking place in South Asia, the region that is bearing the brunt of climate change? How does one go about building resilience and from then to scaling? This post is the third in a series of blogs that will share BRAC’s lessons on building and scaling resilience to climate change.
January 22, 2016

Seven wishes from seven thought leaders for financial inclusion in 2016

2015 was an important year for the world of financial inclusion. Starting with the publication of the six randomised controlled trials results in January that sparked debate on the impacts of microcredit, the sector went on to celebrate (and question) an increase of 700 million people with access to financial services since 2011, with the publication of the 2014 Global Findex.
November 12, 2015

FI2020 week in retrospect: Do we need microfinance and why?

Imagine a world where there is no access to financial services. You cannot save, which means you cannot set aside money for the future. You cannot access a loan, which means you are shut off from a limitless number of opportunities, including investing in an enterprise, purchasing a home or land, or maintaining household expenses when cash is tight. You don’t have insurance or any kind of buffer against shocks, such as medical emergencies in the family, a sudden loss of a job, or natural disasters. Would you be able to manage?
July 5, 2015

From paddy fields to tropical islands – Microfinance moves away from its traditional roots

Jannat is not your typical microfinance client. Like an increasing number of BRAC’s microfinance clients, she is not a member of a women-only savings and borrowing group, and did not take a loan to set up a micro-enterprise. Instead, her and her husband are part of new sphere of microfinance clients that is starting to catch on - migrant workers.
April 29, 2015

Give the youth some credit – 3 takeaways from BRAC’s experience with youth microfinance

Violet is 21 years old, married and a mother of two. She is also the owner of a steelworks business where her husband is one of her employees. When she speaks of expanding her business, her voice is full of confidence and hope, undeterred when others make jokes about how she manages her husband.
February 6, 2015
BRAC microfinance clients in Bangladesh

Studies on microcredit’s impact remain inconclusive. Where do we go from here?

Microcredit alone may not transform many people’s lives. But it can be a part of the equation that does. Poverty is a multi-dimensional issue that requires a multi-dimensional approach. Why then do impact studies on microcredit search for transformative effects of what is essentially a limited intervention?
December 23, 2014

More than credit: Can microfinance also deliver affordable health care?

In Bangladesh, 65 percent of health expenditures are out-of-pocket payments. This lack of funded health care puts considerable pressure on the millions of people with debt from microloans. For many, a health emergency means much more than paying loan installments late; it can mean liquidating business assets that put an end to income-generating activity indefinitely, or going to informal money-lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates
September 2, 2014

How millions of women like Chobi are beating ultra poverty

“When it would rain, we did not have a dry area to sleep… I used old and torn rags to cover my children.” The video speaks for itself. A self-told story about how Chobi Rani, with the assistance of BRAC, brought herself out of the harshest forms of poverty, to feed and send her children to school, live in a comfortable home and maintain successful enterprises in farming.