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David Roodman's Microfinance Open Book Blog


Beth Rhyne just elaborated on my post in which I quote her 1992 writings at length. She explores why her perspective, not so surprisingly, did not catch on much:

NGOs are under constant pressure to make that one-to-one heart-connection for their donors. “A $100 loan enabled Juanita to buy a potter’s wheel and so transform her life.” At ACCION, we have logged thousands of such microenterprise success stories. But just as often, the loan may tide Juanita over six weeks when she has no income, enable her child to stay in school when another relative working in the shop gets sick and she needs a pair of hands, or keep the house heated through the winter until business picks up. Complex stories are difficult to tell in donor brochures, and “institution-building” does not excite the emotions of most people.

Interesting to me is how the new randomized trials of microcredit are forcing a return to old conversations about how to think about the impacts of microfinance---or at least have forced me that way.

Beth also posted the document that I excerpted.

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