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Controversial New Report Details Successes and Challenges as the Microcredit Movement Escalates Its Battle With Poverty
Date:12/18/2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Microloans to the poor around the world soared to 133 million last year, up from 13 million just nine years ago, according to a report released today by the Microcredit Summit Campaign, an initiative of RESULTS Educational Fund. The dramatic progress was also evident in the Campaign's focus on loans to the very poor, those living on less than a US$1 a day, which reached 93 million families in 2006, just shy of the Campaign's goal of reaching 100 million poorest. "We know that by today the 100 million poorest will have been reached," Microcredit Summit Campaign Director Sam Daley-Harris said, "but we won't be able to report those results until the 2007 data is collected, verified, and released at the end of 2008."

The report singles out special praise for Jamii Bora: a microfinance organization in Kenya that started eight years ago with loans to 50 beggars and now reaches 170,000 savers and 60,000 borrowers. The groundbreaking institution started offering health insurance seven years ago when it realized that of those clients who struggled to repay their loans, 93 percent had the same challenge --- a close family member in the hospital. "You can't expect that anyone will let their child die because they have to pay their loan to Jamii Bora," said the group's founder Ingrid Munro, "so this was something that we had to solve." As a result, Jamii Bora covers all in-hospital costs for one adult and four children by linking with mission hospitals. The total cost for the family of five is just 30 cents per week or US$12 per year.

This year's report, however, is the first to assess how the microfinance movement is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success. A tidal wave of commercial capital in recent years is now challenging the very principles on which the microfinance movement was built. The report discusses how Mexico-based microfinance institution Compartamos launched an IPO in April
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SOURCE The Microcredit Summit Campaign
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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