Freedom from Hunger is committed to sharing what we learn with the rest of the field. Our expert staff members are regularly called upon to contribute commentary, articles and chapters for trade publications, technical journals and books.
We are pleased to provide the following list of published works authored or co-authored by Freedom from Hunger staff, past and present. These articles are generally available for free download in PDF format or via links to other websites. In some cases, articles have been published by journals that provide access only by subscription or purchase.
The titles are listed according to the date of publication, starting with the most recent articles. We provide complete citation information for the convenience of researchers wanting to cite the publication in their own work and provide access to French or Spanish versions, when available.
We sincerely hope you will find these articles useful for broadening your understanding of value-added microfinance and related topics.
Over the past few years, microfinance has been widely heralded as a successful contributor to the alleviation of poverty. Scores of studies have shown the positive impact that microfinance can have on the lives of poor people. However, overall progress has been disappointing. Achievement of poverty alleviation goals will call for new and innovative ways of working rather than more of the same. A strategic, overarching strategy to address poor people's interrelated needs through creative partnerships that build on the best of different development sectors has the potential to lead to exponential rather than incremental reduction of poverty in the developing world. Evidence now supports the integration of microfinance with non-financial services as an approach that has potential for enormous contribution to poverty alleviation. This chapter will focus on the opportunities and challenges for microfinance organizations providing these integrated services. It also will provide supporting evidence that shows promising financial and health benefits of integration for the poor and the institutions that support their self-help efforts.
In 1999, Peace Corps Ecuador piloted a savings group programme called Programa de Ahorro y Crédito (PAC). In 11 years, it has grown to approximately 50,000 members in 1,500 savings groups, with very little programme investment and resources. A study by Freedom from Hunger shows that members have found many social and financial benefits through participation in the savings groups, have adapted the methodology to meet their needs, and are independently motivated to expand access by recruiting and assisting other community members to form new groups. While the study concludes with recommendations for strengthening savings group programmes, the continued existence of many mature PAC groups that received only minimal initial training and the high rate of replication of groups demonstrates that savings groups can be a popular and highly sustainable way to provide accessible and low cost financial services to the poor.
Get the article at Global Microcredit Summit 2011 (link will open in a new window).
Microfinance clients and their families often face health challenges that impede their ability to use financial services to improve their lives. Health shocks are among the most common reasons that clients fail to repay, save, and remain active customers. For the benefit of both their social and financial bottom lines, many microfinance providers have felt compelled to help clients prevent and/or treat common health problems. They have developed a variety of responses, ranging from preventive health education to healthcare financing (commitment savings, emergency loans and insurance) to provision of health services and products. This paper surveys the range of experience of microfinance providers of all types and geographies, as well as the available evidence of impacts for clients, families, and communities and the cost and benefits to the microfinance providers who offer health protection options. Lessons for practice and ideas for experimentation and research are offered with the full expectation that integration of microfinance and health protection will become increasingly common in poverty alleviation programs.
Integrating microfinance and health strategies: examining the evidence to inform policy and practiceSheila Leatherman, Marcia Metcalfe, Kimberley Geissler and Christopher Dunford. 17pp. (February 2011). Chapel Hill, NC : Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina and Davis, CA : Freedom from Hunger.
Introduction Single solutions continue to be inadequate in confronting the prevalent problems of poverty, ill health and insufficient health system capacity worldwide. The poor need access to an integrated set of financial and health services to have income security and better health.