Monday, September 28, 2009

Microfinance and Education: A win-win partnership

There is a Chinese proverb that goes something like this: if you want to plan for a year, plant a rice field, if you want to plan for ten years, plant a tree and if you want to plan for the future, educate your child. Microfinance is addressing the 1-10 year scenario which is pretty great. But last year, at the Tech Awards ( I heard of a business model innovation - a partnership - that addresses the future. It is a combination microfinance plus education model. In this model, women who receive loans are encouraged to send their children to a partner education NGO for "free" or at a subsidised rate. The partner institutions decide how the finances are shared (the interest payments) for optimal sustainability of both organisations. This is a win-win model where the women are encouraged to make a go of the business, (education is a social benefit - unquantifiable through standard metrics), microfinace institutions have to do less policing about the use of their funds and education NGO gets students who's parents care.
Countries with severe poverty are also plagued with prejudice against women, poor health among children and a growing opportunity gap between the rich and the poor. UNESCO proclaimed September 8 as International Literacy Day in 1965 to highlight the role of education in addressing these issues but while its importance is universally acknowledged, the deployment of quality education in developing economies has proved unsuccessful. This is also true for India where, in spite of a great rise in economic stature of the nation in recent years, the literacy divide is as great as it was prior to the IT boom. The success stories of opportunity inclusion come from the microfinance sector. So wouldn't it be nice if we could leverage the success of the microfinance model to do more? Like maybe provide quality education to those left behind bythe current system?


Custom Term Papers said...

it's great to see fresh, creative ideas that have never been done before.

Michael said...

Excellent & creative ideas
Has anyone tried this ideas ?


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