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Jun 22
2009

A Good Read - Portfolios of the Poor

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Tagged in: Poverty , Microfinance , Impact , Environment

Elizabeth Israel

 

(Please see Sarah Ban's blog post on June 18!)

Portfolios of the Poor How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day

By Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutheford, & Orlanda Ruthven
Princeton University Press

Indispensable for those in development studies, economics, and microfinance, Portfolios of the Poor will appeal to anyone interested in knowing more about poverty and what can be done about it.

Jun 13
2009

Nobel Laureate 2006, Dr. Muhammad Yunus Joins Dr. William Yager at Microcredit Summit Colombia!

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

MICROCREDIT SUMMIT CAMPAIGN CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

GreenMicrofinance has organized  four panels for the Microcredit Summit Campaign...
from Halifax, Chile, Bali and now Colombia! 
GreenMicrofinance appreciates the support of USAID, microLINKS, and the Microcredit Summit Campaign in collaborating with us over the past years in promoting 'environmentally sustainable microfinance'.




 
GreenMicrofinance Director, Dr. William Yager, joined Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate 2006,  on a panel focused on "microfinance and the environment" at the Microfinance Summit in Cartagena Colombia.  Dr. Yager, with the support of USAID, was one of the 1,000 delegates attending the Summit.

 

 Dr. Yunus chaired the panel, entitled "How MFIs and their Clients can have a Positive Impact on the Environment!"  
Dr. Yager commented on the environmental risks facing microfinance clients.  With a new paradigm shift, he emphasized that paying attention to the environment = enhanced productivity
Dr. Yunus closed the session with the following key points:   
 

  • Global Warming was created by us, we can solve it just by stopping what we are doing wrong.

  • The Poor are not the cause of Global Warming, they are the victims.

  • Technology is key. 

  • Government can do more harm: Subsidies stifle creativity and market sustainability, taxing ecological solutions.

               City Dump  - Guatemala                                                                   Hotel Waste Bio-gas Plants - India

Nobel Laureate 2006
Microcredit Summit Webcast - Colombia
microLINKS Blog - Colombia

Jun 09
2009

Microcredit Summit Opening Plenary: Ingrid Munro - a connection with a child!

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Tagged in: Poverty , Microfinance , Impact , Environment

Elizabeth Israel

During the Opening Plenary at the Microcredit Summit in Colombia, Ingrid Munro, Founder and Managing Trustee of Jamii Bora in Kenya, shared that her institution, founded together with 50 beggars, is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary.   Their mission is to assist their members to get out of poverty and build a better life for themselves and their families. By being a member of Jamii Bora, you get access to a ladder -which you can use to climb out of poverty. While Jamii Bora provides the ladder, the borrowers do the climbing themselves.  She went on to share the inspiring stories of many of Jamii Bora's clients, who having started as beggars now own multiple businesses, are employers, and are helping others climb out of poverty.

One of Jamii Bora's key rules is that they love every member.   It doesn't matter where you come from; what matters is where you are going. They do not accept excuses; the way to hell is paved with excuses.   Jamii Bora doesn't only seek to lift people barely above the poverty line; it seeks to inspire its members with the confidence they need to reach to the sky and beyond.                                                                        

Posted Mon, 06/08/2009 by Lisa Laegreid microLINKS

Elizabeth Israel interviewed Ingrid in Bali in 2008. Dan Lundmark captured on film.  See blog entry My Chat with Ingrid Munro. Since then Elizabeth's and Thomas' new grandchild, Pooja, was adopted by their son and his wife (and 2 children) in Vermont; two years ago she was six years old, homeless, found wandering on the streets of Delhi.

Apr 18
2009

"On Thin Ice" ...climate change and glaciers!

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Namaste!   My four children have all graduated from Woodstock School located in the Himalyan mountains in northern India during the time we lived in rural Nepal.  Over a span of 7 years various family members trekked and enjoyed these majestic mountains.

It was with great interest I watched "On Thin Ice", this one-hour PBS special on NOW.  It is an alarming  report on glaciers.  

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/516/index.html

Seventy-five percent of the world's fresh water is stored in glaciers, but scientists predict climate change will cause some of the world's largest glaciers to completely melt by 2030. What effect will this have on our daily lives?

Environmentalist Conrad Anker, one of the world's leading high altitude climbers, warns, "We can't take climate change and put it on the back burner. If we don't address climate change, we won't be around as humans."

Apr 08
2009

CGAP Report on Microfinance and Climate Change

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Congratulations GGAP on a MUST READ!

...for the April 2 Report on Greening Microfinance: Clients and the Climate of Change

With environmental challenges-from drought to flooding-disproportionately affecting poor people's livelihoods, microfinance institutions have a strong incentive to mitigate the risks of climate change while helping their clients adapt to that change, argues Paul Rippey, the author of the latest report from CGAP on microfinance and climate change.

...to Paul Rippey, on the well-written article,  Microfinance and Climate Change: Threats and Opportunities.   Great work, Paul!

"Within microfinance, the word ‘sustainable' has tended to be used in a very narrow way, mainly referring to institutions that are financially viable," says Rippey. "But just as many MFIs have added social performance to their bottom line, they should also consider how their actions-and those of their clients-can help combat climate change."

Thank you, CGAP, for making mention of GMf in the Report and as an Additional Resource on your Feature page.  

Feb 26
2009

World Economic Forum: Green Investing

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel



Recently the World Economic Forum in Davos released a new study on Green Investing: Towards a Clean Energy InfrastructureIn the study it states that "two billion people worldwide have no access to modern fuels and 1.6 billion have no access to electricity. In addition, hundreds of millions more live in areas with unreliable grids and experience regular outages disrupting light, water pumps and other essential functions".
GreenMicrofinance was listed in the study as one of eight global organizations "working on innovative ways of using microfinance to provide clean energy in developing countries". (p.21)


Jul 30
2008

My Chat with Ingrid Munro

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Over the past days we have been video-taping various folks here at the conference. I had the privilege to meet and chat with Ingrid Munro founder of JamiiBoro in Kenya, a member organization that works with and uplifts street beggars.
The story of those who have been supported by JamiiBoro is an inspiration – whether through microfinance program or through her housing program and Levuka, a program for alcoholics. Another amazing initiative is Kaputei Town, a housing initiative for some 2,000 families, that will provide employment, housing, and a safe environment in which to live. Ingrid was able to secure around 290 acres of prime land in Kisaju for this project.
Beyond the conversation of our work over the past 28 years with the poor, two white-haired grandmothers here at the Summit shared stories of our children and grandchildren.
Ingrid has 5 children, some of whom were adopted.  My oldest son and his wife from Vermont are adopting Poojah, an Indian six year old girl who was abandoned in the streets of New Delhi two years ago. She will be my eighth grandchild and will be well loved.  As I encounter street beggars and children again, I will always be reminded of both Ingrid’s work and Poojah’s early years.

Jul 29
2008

Panel: Microfinance, Their Clients, and Clean Energy

Posted by: Elizabeth Israel

Elizabeth Israel

Today was a breakthrough!  Since 2002, GreenMicrofinance has been participating and leading panels on microfinance and the environment at various Microcredit Summit gatherings- Bangladesh 2004; Chile 2005, Halifax 2006, and today in Bali. 

During today's session on Microfinance, Their Clients, and Clean Energy: Making a Positive Impact on the Environment there was a definite shift in interest and ‘energy' around the topic.  THE LIGHTS ARE ON!

Craig Wilson from The Foundation for Development Cooperation based in Australia and my colleague, Kathleen Robbins from GreenMicrofinance, provided a macro overview of moving forward with clean energy and the microfinance.   

We then shifted to the local perspective.  Paul Thomas, Founder and Exective Director,  Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF), India, and Chitta Ranjan Chaki, Deputy General Manager, Grameen Shakti, Bangladesh, both provided very comprehensive overviews of their clean energy initiatives.  

ESAF in partnership with GreenMicrofinance is developing a clean energy lending program; they recently completed a market survey of 1,200 clients in four States in which they work.  A couple of highlights from the survey include:

  • Majority of these people use firewood for cooking purposes; even if they do have LPG connections they prefer to use firewood stoves (comparatively cheaper source)
  • Waste generated in each household could be processed to produce renewable clean energy.

One I can't help but be impressed with the work of Grameen Shakti, which incorporated in 1996, and which provides energy services in remote rural areas of Bangladesh. GS sells, installs, and maintains solar photovoltaic systems, and has biogas, solar thermal, and wind programs.  

The session was very well attended with about 45 participants from government, NGOs, energy service providers, national banks, advocacy groups, and microfinance institutions.  We invited the group to post on this blog some of their thoughts and questions to further the dialogue on this panel theme.   

From my own perspective, I think we need to clearly identify our vision within the microfinance sector, continue to develop innovative solutions, and promote champions (like Paul Thomas and Chitta Chaki), who will reenergize communities to work together to conserve our natural environment and to promote environmental justice.  

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