“The portfolio approach shows the power of well thought out partial solutions… it is not necessary to solve entire problems in order to improve the well-being of poor communities.”
-  Portfolios of the Poor

The Portfolios of the Poor and our own research in Guatemala have shown us the power of financial tools such as microfinance. While these are not total solutions to poverty, the poor have an incredible ability to combine financial tools in order to survive. At times it is more important to keep tools simple, reliable and flexible instead of trying to create services that provide comprehensive coverage. This is one of the things that I will take away from my experience here and will try to apply to my future endeavors, be it social business or another area involved in development.

An area that could be further adapted to meet this principle is insurance coverage that is easy to understand, has low premiums that fit the poor´s cash flow and delivers payments quickly. This would be hugely beneficial even if the plan did not provide the full amount needed in an emergency.

Below are some links to great work being done by my favorite MFI´s that are providing health insurance to their borrowers.

Pro Mujer

Jamii Bora



Maggie Pool
7/16/2010 03:36:05 pm

Zach, it sounds like things are going relatively well! I'm so happy for you that this has turned out to be as fruitful of an experience as you had anticipated. I visited Kibera yesterday, and I also kept thinking about how entrepreneurial and resilient the people there are and how microfinance could really bring great things for them (if done correctly).

I'm going to visit one of the Nairobi branches of Jamii Bora soon, I don't know if you visited when you were here, but we'll have to compare notes on what it is like in two very different parts of the world.

Take care!

7/20/2010 03:06:11 am

Thats awesome that you are going to Jamii Bora´s branches. I visited a couple while in Nairobi and Jammii Bora was featured at the conference. Their work is incredible and they have really been an innovative organization that is pushing microfinance forward.

We had a private meeting with Ingrid Monroe who is possibly one of the most amazing people in Microfinance at the moment. Definitely take advantage of your opportunity there.

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9/30/2012 03:06:11 am

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