Growing concern of the effectiveness of microfinance seems to be popping up everywhere. A new empirical study by three economics professors claims microcredit alone is not the panacea for poverty that some hoped it would be.
“The fact that some people expected much more from it (and perhaps they are right, may be it will just take longer), is perhaps inevitable given how eager the world is to find that one magic bullet that would finally “solve” poverty. But to actually blame microcredit for not promoting the immunization of children is no different from blaming immunization campaigns for not generating new businesses.”
It is not too shocking that microcredit alone does not end poverty. Maybe we should blame microfinance organizations for not promoting immunizations or pap smears. Other studies have shown that a combination of health services, business training, and a mix of financial services–as Pro Mujer does–is the most effective way to fight poverty.
Poverty shortens life expectancy more than smoking and has lasting effects on children’s health. By providing those microcredit clients who live on $2 a day with affordable access to health care, we can start to address the crippling effects of poverty that are not financial. Pro Mujer offers health serv
A Pro Mujer doctor discusses some of the health challenges poor Nicaraguan women face. Lynne Patterson translates: