Shahana Akhter spends her days on her little red scooter looking for small businesses. She works in BRAC’s microfinance programme, and has spent seven years distributing loans and collecting repayments to enable all types of entrepreneurship to expand.
Mitali Dhar loves her bike. She has travelled far and wide on her two-wheeler. It has not always been met with respect - she was pushed off her bike once during a visit many years ago to a remote spot in Sylhet. “ I sat beside the tube well and cleaned myself up, wept and went straight back to the office,” says Mitali.
The capability to borrow money when needed, whether for short-term or long-term purposes, is a convenience valued by everyone. Access to credit is not only helpful for investing in enterprises, or managing crises, but it also provides the opportunity to access better standards of living.
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.
Husnaara ran to her house smiling from ear to ear as if she could not get any happier. At that point nothing seemed impossible; she could become a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer, go to a good university. She could not wait to give her father the news about her Secondary School Certificate results and assure him that his daughter would one day be able to provide for them.
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.
You’d be forgiven for thinking microfinance has gone wildly out of fashion. The “development caravan”—defined as the wagon train of poverty interventions that excite donors—has pulled away from micro-lending, drawn to more powerful things like BRAC-style graduation programmes (which aim to “graduate” people from extreme poverty into a sustainable livelihood) and bKash-like mobile money, according to recent coverage in The Economist.
In April, BRAC, Access to Information (a2i), fhi360, USAID and IFMR LEAD jointly organised an event named ‘Digital financial inclusion: Innovations from Bangladesh’ to invite local stakeholders to discuss their experiences and emerging solutions (see a recent write-up by IMFR LEAD summarising the event).