Modern microcredit, born in Bangladesh, was hailed as an innovative poverty fix when it appeared on the global radar. The United Nations dubbed 2005 “the year of microcredit,” and the following year, Mohammed Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize. Soon, however, the pendulum of hype swung the opposite direction, as scholars began to question the efficacy of microfinance.
A recent global meeting in Paris acted as the first occasion for sharing the first tranche of substantive results from 10 pilot programs implemented across 8 countries around the world based on BRAC’s flagship program for reaching the ultra poor – Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty Reduction: Targeting the Ultra Poor, otherwise shortened to CFPR:TUP.
BRAC University Development Institute (BDI) and CGAP arranged a meeting of staff from the three ultra poor pilot programs that have been the most advanced in "graduating" members. The meeting provided a platform for the pilots so that they could share their experiences, draw lessons from each other and determine next steps.