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PlaNet Finance and the European Microfinance Platform publish Workshop Report on “Rural Microfinance and Savings”

10-26-2011 05:29 PM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: PlaNet Finance Deutschland e.V.

PlaNet Finance, in cooperation with the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) has now published its latest Workshop Report on the topic of rural microfinance and savings. The report summarizes the results of the 6th “University Meets Microfinance” Workshop organized by the e-MFP Action group “University Meets Microfinance” in the fringe of the “Second European Research conference on Microfinance” from June 17th – June 18th at the University of Groningen. The 2nd European Research conference assessed the state of the art in the field of microfinance research and provided researchers and professionals from the sector with the opportunity to present their work, to discuss with senior researchers, and to exchange with international colleagues.

The UMM workshop gathered 36 participants from 13 universities and 11 practitioners’ organizations who discussed the importance of savings which is often seen as the forgotten half of rural finance and matters especially in rural and marginal areas. Credit granting institutions successfully reached ever larger parts of unbanked populations. But critics point out that “microdebt” often failed to promote self-sustainable economic development and poverty reduction. A sole focus on the provision of microcredit can lead to vicious dependencies for both microfinance institutions and their clients.

The workshop publication contains four article s written by students who presented their research findings about savings mobilization and the financial needs of rural low-income populations as well as comments of microfinance practitioners. All students conducted field research in developing countries in the frame of the UMM Scholarship Programme.

Kristina Czura, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, raised the question whether migration and microcredit serve as a coping strategy to deal with adverse income shocks as a result of natural disasters in the Northern Indian state of Bihar.

Matteo Marinangeli, Marche Polytechnic University addressed the savings patterns of poor women in the Dhaka Slums in Bangladesh. He finds that the majority of women interviewed had a strong propensity to save, primarily in order to dispose of the necessary cash in situations of emergency but also to build up lump sums.

Jacqueline Stenga, Université Libre de Bruxelles, studied the case of Tajikistan and discusses the challenges microfinance institutions face when offering savings accounts.

Another student from Université Libre de Bruxelles, Ngoc Anh Nguyen, provides insights into the value chain financing approach with the example of Vietnamese poultry production. Philippe Guichandut from Grameen Crédit Agricole Microfinance Foundation, who commented on Ngoc’s contribution, found it particularly interesting that services to cope with risks in the production cycle rather than access to markets, was considered important by small-scale hatchery households and slaughterhouses.

This workshop publication sheds light on the topic of rural finance and savings from different angles, yet, having a common goal: the satisfaction of financial needs beyond the classical entrepreneurial credit.

The workshop report is available for download here: http://www.universitymeetsmicrofinance.eu/site/workshop-reports.html

Save the date!
The next activity of the e-MFP Action Group “University Meets Microfinance” will take place on November 3rd in the frame of the European Microfinance Week from 2-4 November 2011 in Luxemburg and is organized by the e-MFP. Four UMM students will cover the topics financial crisis, environmental microfinance, health policy and product flexibility in microfinance.

About University Meets Microfinance (UMM)
UMM is a programme which fosters cooperation between university students in Europe and microfinance practitioners. UMM has been launched by PlaNet Finance and Freie Universität Berlin and is co-financed by the European Commission within the frame of its Education for Development Programme. In 2010 the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) has set up an e-MFP Action Group “UMM” to further enhance students’ research and microfinance education. As of today, 47 academics from 32 universities and 49 microfinance practitioners from 25 organisations volunteer to support UMM as Selection Committee members. In total the UMM events gathered 1886 students, professors and practitioners from 10 European countries.
http://www.universitymeetsmicrofinance.eu

About PlaNet Finance Group
PlaNet Finance Group’s mission is to bring about a sustainable increase in the living standards of the world’s most impoverished groups by improving their access to financial services. It does this through developing microfinance products and services tailored to the needs of those living in greatest poverty. PlaNet Finance Group’s international activities extend to 80 countries and it is now recognized as a key player in tackling global poverty.
http://www.planetfinancegroup.org/

About European Microfinance Platform
The European Microfinance Platform [e-MFP] was founded formally in 2006. e-MFP is a growing network of over 130 organisations and individuals active in the area of microfinance. Its principal objective is to promote co-operation amongst European microfinance bodies working in developing countries, by facilitating communication and the exchange of information. It is a multi-stakeholder organization representative of the European microfinance community. e-MFP members include banks, financial institutions, government agencies, NGOs, consultancy firms, researchers and universities. e-MFP’s vision is to become the microfinance focal point in Europe linking with the South through its members.
http://www.e-mfp.eu/

Press Contacts
PlaNet Finance Deutschland e.V.
Sven Volland
Axel Springer Str 54B
Tel / Fax :+49 30 47 989 818
D- 10117 Berlin
umm@planetfinance.org

PlaNet Finance Headquarters
Marlène Biard
mbiard@planetfinance.org
+331 49 21 26 15
European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP)
Christoph Pausch
2, rue Sainte Zithe
L-2763 Luxembourg
Tel: + 352.26.27.13-55
Fax: + 352.45.68.68.68
email: contact@e-mfp.eu

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