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Meet Mrs Banda

 

Meet Mrs Banda from Malawi, or Margaret to friends. She’s a vibrant woman who’s used support from a microfinance program run by the Salvation Army to help her and her family gain a better life.

For Mrs Banda, microfinance has enabled her to increase her income by a factor of 10 – from 200 to 2000 Kwacha a day. It’s a great example of how fighting poverty is about enabling individuals to flourish, and how aid can work.

It’s in stark contrast to the beating that microfinance has taken in the press in the last few months. The New York Times has even gone so far as to say that, “Microcredit is losing its halo in many developing countries,” as Governments in India and Bangladesh seek to tighten the reins on what has been hailed as a saviour to the world’s poor.

There are legitimate questions to ask about how much microfinance can achieve, and what the rules and regulations should be, but we need to ensure that we remember microfinance is enabling real changes in people’s lives, right now.

As part of this, it’s worth remembering that the concern raised about microfinance has almost entirely been focused on the for-profit organisations – businesses who see microfinance as a way to make money. They’re a very different breed of organisation to the non-profit and social microfinance organisations.

In a recent interview on Australian TV about the critiques of for-profit microfinance groups, Calum Scott from Opportunity International Australia said that “we fear that this will overshadow the good work that socially focused microfinance organisations have been doing both in India and other countries."

Microfinance isn’t a silver bullet, but for women like Margaret Banda, it’s an important step on the ladder out of poverty.

You can donate to the Salvation Army's Generate project here, or by phone on +44 (0) 20 7367 4777 

 

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