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Information Kit
Fast Facts
Understanding Microcredit and Microfinance Brochure
(PDF download)
Resources: Books and Online
Surviving Disasters and Supporting Recovery: A Guidebook for Microfinance Institutions
Information Kit

Download the International Year of Microcredit info kit here.
This kit is available for you to distribute at your local events and conferences in support of the Year.

--What's Happening? Major Activities Planned for the Year
--Microfinance and the MDG's
--Around the World: National Activities in Support of the Year
--Get Involved! What You Can Do to Support the Year

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Fast Facts
Microfinance and the Millennium Development Goals
Microcredit and microfinance contribute to the achievement of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. These eight development targets, agreed to by world leaders at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, address standards of health, gender equality and education with the overarching goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015. The Year of Microcredit 2005 will enhance the impact of microcredit and microfinance to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
"Microfinance is much more than simply an income generation tool. By directly empowering poor people, particularly women, it has become one of the key driving mechanisms towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, specifically the overarching target of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015."

Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Did you know …

  • In Bolivia, microcredit loan clients doubled their income in two years, according to the Global Development Research Center. Clients were also more likely to access health care for themselves and their families, and more likely to send their children to school.
  • An eight-year World Bank study in Bangladesh found that 48 per cent of the poorest households with access to microcredit loans rose above the poverty line.
  • Opportunity International had loans out to over 675,000 poor clients at the end of 2004, and 98 per cent of all repayments in the year were made on time or within 30 days. It estimated that more than 1.2 million jobs were created or sustained from these loans, which were provided at market interest rates.
  • An estimated 15.7 million people in Brazil work in the informal economy as microentrepreneurs outnumbering formal sector entrepreneurs by more than three to one, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Of these informal micro-entrepreneurs, 93 per cent run profitable businesses.
  • Borrowers of Bank Rakyat in Indonesia increased their incomes by 12.9 per cent compared to increases of 3 per cent in the control group, according to the research of Joe Remenyi and Benjamin Quinones Jr. Another study on Bank Rakyat borrowers on the island of Lombok in Indonesia reports that the average incomes of clients had increased by 112 per cent and that 90 per cent of households had moved out of poverty.
  • Three-fourths of clients who participated in the programmes of SHARE in India for over an extended period of time saw significant improvements in their economic well-being and half of the clients graduated out of poverty. There was also a marked shift in employment patterns of clients from irregular, low-paid daily labour to diversified sources of earnings, increased employment of family members, and a strong reliance on small business.
  • Five (5) per cent of clients graduated out of poverty each year by participating in microfinance programmes, according to a study on Grameen Bank by Shahidur Khandker. More importantly, households were able to sustain these gains over time.

Promoting Children’s Education

  • In one Bangladesh village, almost all of the girls in Grameen households had some schooling compared to 60 per cent of girls in the comparison group; 81 per cent of Grameen boys went to school compared to 54 per cent in non-Grameen households, according to a 1996 study by Helen Todd.
  • Basic competency in reading, writing, and arithmetic among children 11–14 years old in BRAC member households increased from 12 per cent in 1992 to 24 per cent in 1995, compared to only 14 per cent for children in non-member households, according to a Chowdhury and Bhuiya report.
  • In Honduras, Save the Children clients increased earnings, which enabled them to send children to school and to lower dropout rates.

Improving Health Outcomes for Women and Children

  • In a Foundation for Credit and Community Assistance (FOCCAS) microfinance programme in Uganda, 95 per cent of clients engaged in improved health and nutrition practices for their children compared to 72 per cent of non-clients, according to a study by USAID-AIMS. In addition, thirty-two (32) per cent of clients had tried at least one AIDS-prevention practice compared to 18 per cent for non-clients.
  • A study of BRAC clients found that fewer suffered from severe malnutrition compared to a control group, and most importantly, the extent of severe malnutrition declined as the length of time as clients increased, reported a study by Chowdhury and Bhuiya.
  • Rates of contraceptive use were significantly higher for Grameen clients (59 per cent) than for non-clients (43 per cent), reported a survey of microfinance clients in Bangladesh. Mizanur Rahman and Julie DaVanzo reported similar findings in a later study.
  • In a report by Patrick Honohan in which he cites a 2003 Tanzania micro-survey by Beegle, Dehejia and Gatti, he concludes that “access at the household level to credit acts as a substitute for child labor.”

Microfinance: Important to Women

  • Microfinance programmes from different regions report increasing decision-making roles of women clients, according to the research of Susy Cheston and Lisa Kuhn. For example, the Women's Empowerment Program in Nepal found that 68 per cent of its members were making decisions on buying and selling property, sending their daughters to school, negotiating their children's marriages, and planning their family.
  • Becoming a microfinance client has led to increased self-confidence in women and improved status within the community, according to results of Freedom from Hunger studies in Bolivia and Ghana. Participants in Ghana played a more active role in community life and community ceremonies, while participants in Bolivia were actively involved in local government.

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Learn more!

Understanding Microcredit and Microfinance Brochure (PDF download)

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Resources: Books and Online

Please note that links to other Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement. The United Nations and the International Year of Microcredit takes no responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantees the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to other sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.

Below please find a list of links to more information on microfinance including specific information on remittances, microinsurance and savings. While there is a wealth of information out there, the following resources are not comprehensive; they represent a sampling of information to provide a good foundation for learning more about microfinance.




Asian Development Bank - Development of SME Financing Support System

IFC Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Department

World Bank Group Small and Medium Enterprise Department

Financing Difficulties and Structural Characteristics of SMEs in China

Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB): Results of CFIB Banking Survey - October 2003

Growth and Empowerment - Making Development Happen
Nicholas Stern, Jean Jacques Dethier and F. Halsey Rogers by MIT Press.

Banker to the Poor
Muhammad Yunus. Published by Public Affairs (1999).

Development As Freedom
Amartya Sen. Published by Anchor Books/Doubleday (2001).

Economists Guide: Essential Economics
Matthew Bishop. Published by Profile Books.
Order here

Finance at the Frontier: Debt Capacity and the Role of Credit in the Private Economy
J.D. Von Pischke. The Economic Development Institute of the World Bank (1991).

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
C.K. Prahalad. Published by Wharton School Publishing/Pearson (2004).
Click here to read an excerpt

Getting the Framework Right: Policy and Regulation for Microfinance in Asia
By Paul B. McGuire, John D. Conroy, and Ganesh B. Thapa. Published by The Foundation for Development Cooperation (1998).

The Microfinance Revolution: Sustainable Finance for the Poor
Marguerite Robinson. Published by the World Bank (2001).

Microfinance Systems: Designing Quality Financial Services for the Poor
Graham Wright. Published by Zed Books (2001).

The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
Hernando DeSoto. Published by Basic Books (2003).

The New World of Microenterprise Finance: Building Healthy Financial Institutions for the Poor
María Otero and Elisabeth Rhyne. Published by Kumarian Press (1994).

Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists: Unleashing the Power of Financial Markets to Create Wealth and Spread Opportunity
Raghuram Rajan and Luis Zingales. Published by Crown Business (2003).

Why Isn’t There More Financial Intermediation in Developing Countries?
Jonathan Conning and Michael Kevane, in Dercon, S. (ed) Insurance against Poverty. Published by Oxford University Press (2004).

The Economics of Microfinance
Beatriz Armediz de Aghion and Jonathan Morduch (2005). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Comprehensive overview.

Microfinance Handbook: An Institutional and Financial Perspective
Joanna Ledgerwood (1998): , Washington DC, The World Bank (also available in French and Spanish). Comprehensive textbook.

Credit Reporting Systems and the International Economy
Edited by Margaret J. Miller

Microfinance Poverty Assessment Tool
By Carla Henry, Cecile Lapenu, Manfred Zeller, Manohar Sharma

Poor People's Knowledge: Promoting Intellectual Property in Developing Countries
Editors: J. Michael Finger, Philip Schuler

The Elusive Quest for Growth
By William Easterly

11 Key Principles on Microfinance. Developed by UNCDF, CGAP and other CGAP member donors and endorsed by the G8 Countries in June 2004 in preparation of the International Year of Microcredit 2005. Available at http://www.cgap.org/keyprinciples.asp

CGAP (2002): Microcredit: One of Many Intervention Strategies, Washington DC: CGAP Donor Brief No. 2 (April)

CGAP (2004): CLEAR Report on Cambodia. Washington, D.C.: CGAP, 2004. Example of a comprehensive financial sector analysis, available at www.cgap.org

Hege Gulli (1998): Microfinance and Poverty. Questioning the Conventional Wisdom, Washington D.C., IADB. Easy reading, introduction

International Monetary Fund (IMF): Microfinance: A View from the Fund, Washington, DC: IMF Paper (approved by Stefan Ingves), January 2005

Elisabeth Rhyne and Robert Peck Christen (1999): Microfinance Enters the Marketplace. Washington, D.C.: USAID. Available at http://www.mip.org/pdfs/usaid/microfinanceenters.pdf

Stuart Rutherford (2000): The Poor and Their Money. Oxford.

UNCDF (2001): Supporting Women's Livelihoods. Microfinance that Works for the Majority. A Guide to Best Practices. New York, UNCDF. Available at http://www.uncdf.org/english/microfinance/reports/policy/index.asp

UNCDF (2003): Sector Development Approach. New York, UNCDF. Available at http://www.uncdf.org/english/microfinance/reports/policy/index.asp

Manfred Zeller (2001):"Promoting Institutional Innovation in Microfinance: Replicating Best Practices Is not Enough", D+C Development and Cooperation No. 1, January/February 2001

The Role of Governments in Microfinance. Washington, D.C.: CGAP Donor Brief No. 19. June 2004, available at www.cgap.org

The Rush to Regulate: Legal Frameworks for Microfinance, CGAP Occasional Paper No. 4, April 2000, available at http://www.cgap.org
(Recommended introductory reading on microfinance policy)

CGAP. Consensus Microfinance Guidelines: Regulation and Supervision. Washington, D.C.: CGAP Consensus Guidelines, August 2003 available at http://www.cgap.org

GTZ. Regulatory Requirements for Microfinance. A Comparison of Legal Frameworks in 11 Countries Worldwide. Eschborn 2003. Available at www.gtz.de

CGAP Appraisal Format, Washington, D.C.: CGAP Technical Tool, July 1999 (new edition 2005 forthcoming, available at www.cgap.org

CGAP: Building Inclusive Financial Systems. Donor Guidelines on Good Practice in Microfinance. Washington, D.C.: December 2004. [the so-called "Pink Book"] available at www.cgap.org

Donor Peer Review on Aid Effectiveness: Microfinance as a Test Case. Synthesis Reports on findings from the first sets of peer reviews, and UNDP/UNCDF Management Letter. Available at http://www.cgap.org/projects/donor_peer_reviews.asp

Brigit Helms and Peggy McInerny (2002): Water, Water, but not a drop to drink. Washington, D.C.: CGAP Donor Brief No. 3, May, www.cgap.org/direct

CGAP Phase III Strategy 2003 - 2008. Washington, DC, January 2003, www.cgap.org

Microfinance Donor Brief Series by CGAP, available at www.cgap.org/direct

Information about individual donors and investors is available at www.mixmarket.org

Is Microfinance an Effective Strategy to Reach the Millennium Development Goals? CGAP Focus Note no. 24, January 2003, www.cgap.org/html/p_focus_notes24.asp

Monique Cohen, with CGAP staff and Deena Burjorjee/UNCDF, The Impact of Microfinance. Washington, D.C.: CGAP Donor Brief No. 13, July 2003, and DIRECT Presentation "The Impact of Microfinance", available at www.cgap.org/direct

CGAP (2002): Making Sense of Microfinance Interest Rates, Washington, D.C.: CGAP Donor Brief No. 6 (September) www.cgap.org/direct

Tools available at http://www.cgap.org/publications/technical_tools.asp

MicroSave Briefing Notes and Toolkits available at www.microsave.org


New publication — Microfinance and the Millennium Development Goals

Reaching out: Access to and use of banking services across countries

Rural Finance: Recent Advances and Emerging Lessons, Debates, and Opportunities, Columbus, Ohio: Reformatted version of Working Paper No. AEDE-WP-0041-05, The Ohio State University, July 2005

Oct 2004 Data on Access of Poor and Low Income People to Financial Services
Honohan presentation
Honohan paper
Visa White Paper
Developing Productive Customers in Emerging Markets
White Paper Commissioned by Patrimonio Hoy

Directory of Development Organizations 2005

Bringing Development Back into Microfinance, Journal of Microfinance
María Otero.
Click here to view article

Human Development Report

Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor. Commission on the Private Sector & Development.

Is Microfinance an Effective Strategy to Reach the Millennium Development Goals?
Focus Note 24 –Elizabeth Littlefield; Johnathan Murduch; Syed Hashemi.
Click here to view article

Microfinance in the Arab States
Click here to view article

Microfinance and the Poor: Breaking down walls between microfinance and formal finance
Elizabeth Littlefield; Richard Rosenberg.
Click here to view article

UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

UNCDF informs about the microfinance activities of UNDP and UNCDF, training offers, the International Year of Microcredit, and publishes reports, project documents, and additional comprehensive information and training material on microfinance at http://www.uncdf.org => click on microfinance

The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the donor consortium in microfinance, publishes a host of very useful short publications and tools at www.cgap.org. Its Donor Information Resource Center at www.cgap.org/direct lists useful case studies, presentations and training tools particularly for donors and social investors

The Microfinance Gateway is a very comprehensive source on microfinance. It lists publications of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and other microfinance-related documents. It provides summaries and reading recommendations of selected documents, glossaries, and information on upcoming events. Visit http://www.microfinancegateway.org

The MIX (Microfinance Information exchange) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help build the microfinance market infrastructure by offering data sourcing, benchmarking and monitoring tools, as well as specialized information services. www.mixmarket.org
The MicroBanking Bulletin (MBB) is available at its website at www.mixmbb.org

The Microfinance Center for CEE and NIS, based in Poland, is a membership-based resource center that promotes the development of microfinance through training, consulting, research, learning, and legal and policy development services. www.mfc.org.pl

The Virtual Library on Microcredit lists a broad range of publications on microfinance issues at http://www.gdrc.org/icm
The website of MicroSave (formerly MicroSave Africa), an initiative created with support of UNDP and other donors (CGAP, DfID, Austria, Norad), lists a number of interesting field studies, essays and synthesis papers under its "study programme" section, as well as links to other selected publications. Visit http://www.microsave-africa.com

DevFinance (DFV) is a public e-mail server that broadcasts messages to subscribers. It is designed to enhance communication among researchers, practitioners, donor employees, and policymakers who are interested in developing financial markets especially in low-income countries. It is sponsored by the Rural Finance Program at The Ohio State University. If you wish to subscribe to DevFinance, refer to the OSU web site at http://www-agecon.ag.ohio-state.edu/RuralFinance/devfinan.htm

Microfinance Practice: This listserve provides microfinance practitioners an opportunity to discuss relevant issues with their peers. For more information and to subscribe, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MicrofinancePractice/

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Social Reinsurance: A new approach to sustainable Community health financing
A.S. Preker; D.M. Dror.
Click here to view article


HIV/AIDS and Microinsurance in the microfinance sector in Africa
Click here to view article

2004 Regulation and Supervision of Microinsurance Report
Click here to view article

Microinsurance: A Case Study of an Example of the Full Service Model of Microinsurance Provision
Michael McCord; J. Isern; and S. M. Hashemi.
Click here to view article

Microinsurance Centre Briefing Note # 2: How Poor People Manage Risk?
Monique Cohen; Jeneffer Sebstad.
Click here to view article

Microinsurance: Improving Risk Management for the Poor
Click here to view article

Microinsurance: A Risk Management Strategy
Donor Brief 16
Click here to view article

Necessity as the Mother of Invention: How Poor People Protect Themselves Against Risk
Graham A. N. Wright
Click here to view article

Roundtable on Microfinance Services in the Informal Economy: The Role of Microfinance Institutions
International Coalition on Women and Credit; Special Unit for Microfinance, UNCDF.
Click here to view article

Viewing Microinsurance as a Social Risk Management Instrument
The World Bank Group.
Click here to view article

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Striking the Balance in Microfinance: A Practical Guide to Mobilizing Savings
Edited by Brian Branch and Janette Klaehn. Published by Pact Publications for the World Council of Credit Unions (2002).


CGAP Focus Note 13 on Savings Mobilization Strategies
Click here to view article

Going to the Barricades for Microsavings Mobilization: A View of the Real Costs from the Trenches
Dave C. Richardson.
Click here to view article

Mobilising Microsavings: The Experience of Seven Deposit-Taking Institutions
Alfred Hannig; and Sylvia Wisniwski.
Click here to view article

Mobilising Microsavings: The Millennium Challenge in Microfinance
A. Hannig.
Click here to view article

Savings in the Context of Microfinance – State of Knowledge
Michael Fiebig; Alfred Hannig; Sylvia Wisniwski.
Click here to view article

Women, Microfinance, and Savings: Lessons and Proposals
Rebecca Vonderlack; Mark Schreiner, Mark.
Click here to view article

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Remittances: Development Impact and Future Prospects
Edited by Samuel Munzele Maimbo and Dilip Ratha


Outward Bound
The Economist.
Click here to view article

Sending a Lot of Money Home
Enrique Iglesias.
Click here to view article

Sending Money Home: Remittance to Latin America and the Caribbean
Inter-American Development Bank.
Click here to view article

Unlocking the Hidden Potential of Remittances
Charo Quesada.
Click here to view article

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Determinants of Financing Obstacles.
Beck, Demirguc-Kunt, Laeven and Maksimovic. Published in the Journal of International Money and Finance. Click here to view article

Does Foreign Bank Penetration Reduce Access to Credit in Developing Countries?
Evidence from Asking Borrowers. Clarke, Cull and Martinez Peria. Published by the World Bank. Click here to view article

Financial and Legal Constraints to Firm Growth: Does Firm Size Matter?
Beck, Demirguc-Kunt, and Maksimovic. Published in the Journal of Finance. Click here to view article

Financing Patterns Around the World: Are Small Firms Different?
Beck, Demirguc-Kunt, and Maksimovic. Published by the World Bank. Click here to view article

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Fortunata Maria de Aliaga

Fortunata Maria de Aliaga has sold flowers from a street corner. She learned about Banco Sol, a bank affiliated with ACCION International and with three other women, she qualified for a loan that allowed her to buy flowers in bulk. Read Fortunata's entire success story >>
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