Shortlisted entries 2013

Small loans, big dreams: fighting poverty, one loan at a time

Small loans, big dreams: fighting poverty, one loan at a timeSmall loans, big dreams: fighting poverty, one loan at a time
Asad Kamran Ghalib

In a remote rural area in South Pakistan, Rani Begum runs a small business of rearing goats and chicken at home. She was introduced by a local community-support officer to a women’s self-help group and from help by a microfinance institution, she bought a small goat. Today, four years into the programme, she owns six goats and twelve chickens and looks forward to buying a cow. Microfinance is the practice of providing small, collateral-free loans and other financial services to protect the vulnerable against shocks. My study examines whether access to microfinance reduces social and economic poverty, and if so, to what extent and across which dimensions of wellbeing. First-hand observations and empirical data gathered from interviews of over a thousand households revealed that despite producing some degree of positive impact, microfinance institutions still have to make sustained efforts to bring about real difference to the livelihoods of the poor.

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