Costs and Benefits of Microfinance Institutions Offering Health-Protection Services to Clients

In a recent post (# 69), I introduced the Microfinance and Health Protection (MAHP) initiative led by Freedom from Hunger with five microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, India and the Philippines. You can go back to that post to learn about what this initiative involved (MFIs providing health education, health savings and loans, and/or facilitated access to health care read more...

The Cost of “Extra Education” in Village Banking

“How much more expensive is a village banking program when extra education is added?” This is the business case question most often asked of practitioners of fully integrated Credit with Education—the “unified” type of the three integration types presented in post # 64. My colleagues, Ellen Vor der Bruegge, Joan Dickey and I offered an answer specific to the Freedom from Hunger version o read more...

The Business Case for Village Banking

So far in The Evidence Project posts, I have focused on what the evidence tells us about the benefits for clients. Even when I compared credit groups to savings groups (post # 16) in terms of the “net costs,” I referred to the balance of costs and benefits to the group members, not to the institution that sponsors and supports these groups. I concluded that the evidence indicates savings group read more...

What Does the Evidence Mean for Freedom from Hunger?

Over the past month, I have been asking whether the poor can become healthier and better nourished because of their use of microfinance services. Lynne Davidson Jarrell has provided us her summary of the main points of the six posts. What does all this mean for Freedom from Hunger? For 25 years, Freedom from Hunger has designed, tested and taught independent partner organizations worldwide ( read more...

Theme Six Wrap-Up: Better Health and Nutrition Practices & Greater Use of Vital Health Products and Services?

by Lynne Davidson Jarrell Lynne has graciously volunteered to summarize the posts under Theme Six, from her perspective rather than mine. Note that she points to the posts relevant to each topic she covers (the numbers are hyperlinks). Each post on this blog is assigned a unique number in chronological order of posting, and all the posts for each theme are listed by number and title on the righ read more...

Results of the Microfinance and Health Protection Initiative

In 2006, Freedom from Hunger launched the Microfinance and Health Protection (MAHP) initiative (led by Myka Reinsch and Marcia Metcalfe) to test the feasibility and impact of offering microfinance clients not only health education but also access to health services and products. Knowing that ill-health and inability to access health care are key factors both leading to and resulting from poverty a read more...

Global Review of Impact Studies of Integrated Microfinance and Health Services

The last two posts (# 66 and # 67) described important research findings by Freedom from Hunger. For a broader global view of the effectiveness of integrated microfinance and health services, I turn to a couple of surveys done just a few years ago. First is a survey of 89 integrated microfinance-health providers, fairly evenly distributed around the world. This revealed that 80 percent provided read more...

Can Microfinance Improve Prevention and Treatment of Malaria?

We have seen good evidence (post # 66) that group-based microfinance can integrate successfully with education for mothers to improve their childcare practices; in particular, infant feeding and diarrhea management. Public health experts insist that this kind of intervention is crucial for child survival and development to healthy, productive adult life. It is also a relatively easy intervention t read more...

Can Microfinance Change Mothers’ Health and Nutrition Practices?

Integration of group microfinance with various health and nutrition interventions has been the hallmark of Freedom from Hunger’s work for more than two decades. Neither the economic development field nor the health and nutrition fields have regarded this combination as an obvious winner! The notion that these aspects of human life are intertwined and mutually dependent is almost taken for grante read more...

Arguments For and Against Integrating Financial and Nonfinancial Services

There are many opportunities for “economies of scope” in serving the diverse yet interlocking needs of the poor, and many microfinance providers have seized these opportunities in various ways, summarized in my last post (# 64). However, far more microfinance providers do not seize these opportunities. Why? There should be efficiencies in operations and even synergies of benefits to be gain read more...