Microfinance is the provision of basic financial services to the poor. Access to loans, savings and insurance helps poor entrepreneurs to create and grow small businesses. Initially, microfinance was largely gender neutral: it sought to provide credit to the poor who had no assets to pledge as collateral. It quickly emerged, however, that women invested their business profits in ways that would have a longer-lasting impact on their families and communities. Consequently women became fundamental to the success of the microfinance model as a poverty alleviation tool.
This article in The Glass Hammer, published November 6, 2007, features Women's World Banking and WWB network member SEWA Bank, India. WWB's Louise Schneider-Moretto is quoted in the article, which offers a general introduction to microfinance and highlights the recent training-of-trainers (TOT) workshop on Financial Risk Management for Microfinance Institutions, hosted by WWB, Citigroup and the SEEP Network in Washington DC, October 29-31.