During this panel discussion, we will discuss the track record of the modern microfinance movement and its potential role in reaching many of the UN’s sustainable development goals. We also want to examine what microfinance can teach us about excellence in nonprofit organizations and social enterprises generally.
From the 1980s to the early 2000s, “microloans” were all the rage in international development. By giving a very small loan to someone living in a poor country, you could help them expand a small business, which would lift their family out of poverty. When they pay back the loan, the money can be cycled to more borrowers, lifting more families out of poverty. The impact potential was expected to be game-changing.
However, certain studies published in the mid 2010’s have found modest poverty reduction and social empowerment gains for those receiving microloans. The implications of those recent studies for policy and practice have been hotly debated.
Spinning the debate in a different direction, this panel will look at broader impacts on communities and how microfinance helped achieve a number of the UN’s SDGs beyond poverty alleviation including inclusive economy, gender equality, sustainable agriculture, etc.
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Impact Capital Forum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. New York, N.Y.