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Month: February 2010

The Journalist

The Journalist

This week Negros Women for Tomorrow published it’s first newsletter in several years.  I know the girl putting it together, so she gave me 250 words (shortened first to 150, then 100).  Here it is: Over the past year, Kiva has partnered with MFIs like NWTF across the Philippines to bring microfinance to the masses and offer people before the chance to participate. NWTF and Kiva joined forces six short months ago, funding a total of $150,000 in Project Dungganon…

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Working Toward a Common Goal

Working Toward a Common Goal

A microfinance institution is a business.  Like any business, MFIs are competitive with one another.  While MFIs currently serve only a portion of the poverty pie, they compete for existing clients.  It is important to create a product that appeals to the client and offer high levels of service in order to keep your clients.  This is particularly true in the Philippines, where things are relationship-driven and the people are emotional.  For example, NWTF has an issue with client attrition…

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SMEs in the Philippines

SMEs in the Philippines

This is the second post in a three-part series on SMEs. In an earlier post, I discussed another area of development – SMEs – that is both important for creating sustained growth, and has recently attracted interest from investors.  The Philippines is also placing a lot of emphasis on this area of development. The Philippines is actually in good shape regarding SMEs, as it has an abundant labor pool.  The country has 800,000 registered businesses, of which ~7% are classified as…

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Beard Update

Beard Update

It’s been over a month since my last update about the beard.  Unfortunately, I wish I could say that no news is good news, because the news is all bad.  The pattern highlighted in my previous post has shown itself to be permanent – disappointing to say the least.  This is Asia and few people can grow beards here.  I went on a trip with one of my coworkers and his friends to Dumaguete, a beach town down south that…

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Helping Haiti: Microfinance and Natural Disasters

Helping Haiti: Microfinance and Natural Disasters

What is the role of microfinance in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster?   The short answer is that, under the circumstances, microcredit is less effective.  A prerequisite for microcredit is a functioning economy.  Goods and services need to be worth money for capital infusions to make a difference.  For example, an MFI lends money to a woman for the purpose of opening a general store.  The woman uses the loan to buy soap from one retailer and soft…

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Life on the Farm: Micro-Crop Loans

Life on the Farm: Micro-Crop Loans

This post appeared on the Kiva Fellows blog.  Read the original here. Last week I went to a town called La Castellana about an hour south of Bacolod to visit the NWTF branch there.  I was there to meet a handful of Kiva borrowers and interview them about the progress of their loan.  Over the course of two days, I met six women that currently have a loan with Kiva, and another four that I am going to post to…

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Two Days in La Castellana

Two Days in La Castellana

Last week, I spent two days in the town of La Castellana, visiting the NWTF branch here.  I went to speak with existing Kiva clients about their business to send an update to the lenders, and also interview new clients to post up on the site.  You can always tell the profiles and updates I’ve written because I try to employ the same literary techniques that make this blog so readable (or unreadable, depending on your perspective).  Of the six…

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Scouting New Territory II

Scouting New Territory II

The other day I talked about how an MFI figures out the potential market for their services in an area.  A simple calculation using statistics provided by the government offers a high-level estimate of the number of women in the target profile.  But it is also important to understand the situation on the ground – who is there already and what are they doing?  On a recent market research trip with some NWTF staff, I learned how to get the…

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Scouting New Territory I

Scouting New Territory I

One misconception about microfinance institutions is that, because they are NGOs with a core social mission, they do not compete in the same way as traditional for-profit companies.  This is, of course, not the case.  Just like any other business, MFIs must strive to offer the best product, best service, and, ideally, serve communities with a sizable demand for microfinance.  This gives you a competitive edge over other MFIs in the area.  When considering expansion, an MFI needs to consider…

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