Wednesday, January 11

One Idea to Tackle the Problem of Latin American Poverty

For those with a missionary mindset, or who want to make a difference in Latin America, here is an idea. Peter Brinkerhoff is doing some interesting work combining micro-loan programs with education, counseling, and spiritual guidance and making a real tangible difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands!
...during his nine months in Kisangani, Peter Brinkerhoff and his little team of newly trained loan officers oversaw the closing of more than 800 such loans, with a total face value of about $50,000. Strict guidelines are in place to monitor repayment procedures, and the 95 percent rate of timely return would make many U.S. banks envious. Best of all, the original $50,000 is not used up, but is constantly available in its entirety for new rounds of equally prudent lending.
This has real potential, without fostering further corruption and providing for real cultural and social change. If more people where doing what Brinkerhoff is doing in Latin America, perhaps less immigrants would feel compelled to enter our country illegally seeking work. This is what I call real solutions. If you are involved in banking, or missionary work, I would encourage you to check out “Banker to the Poor” by Muhammad Yunus.

Here is the review by Library Journal:
Bangladesh, a country the size of Florida with a population of over 120 million people, is the home of Grameen Bank, the inspiration of economist Yunus, Bangladesh-born and U.S.-trained. Instead of spending his life as a university economics professor, Yunus decided in the mid-1970s to develop a micro-lending program to help the poorest people of his country. Yunus based the program on his strong belief that the very poor do not need complicated training programs to improve their economic lot. They need money, in the form of loans. This program has empowered thousands of peopleAmany of them womenAand surprised experts in economic development who never believed that the very poor would find the initiative and ability to repay even the smallest ($25-$500) loans. Grameen ("of the village") Bank has developed into an internationally acclaimed and replicated method for assisting the impoverished in Malaysia, the Philippines, Nepal, and even the United States.