Articles

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.

Linking Health to Microfinance to Reduce Poverty

Leatherman, Sheila and Christopher Dunford. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2010;88:470-471. doi: 10.2471/BLT.09.071464. (November 2009).

To read this, the first of many publications about to emerge from the four and a half years of our Microfinance and Health Protection (MAHP) initiative, click here.

Abstract

The June 2010 issue of the highly-regarded Bulletin of the World Health Organization published an article by Freedom from Hunger’s Trustee Sheila Leatherman and President Chris Dunford entitled “Linking Health to Microfinance to Reduce Poverty.”  In the words of the WHO Bulletin editor, “Sheila Leatherman & Christopher Dunford describe the positive effects of linking microfinance with health services.”

Credit unions and rural banks reaching down and out to the rural poor through group-based microfinance.

Dunford, Christopher. Enterprise Development and Microfinance, 20 (2):107–124. (June 2009). (English Only)

You may purchase the article at Ingenta Connect (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

Over the past 15 years, the experience of credit unions in francophone West Africa, Ecuador, Madagascar and the Philippines and rural banks in Ghana shows that adding group-based microfinance (village banking) to existing, locally owned financial institutions in provincial towns is a lower-cost, effective and sustainable alternative to building microfinance institutions de novo in order to extend microfinance to poorer women (many of them so poor their families are chronically hungry), especially in rural areas.

The advantage of village banking (as an efficient form of group-based microfinance) may be simply that it keeps costs low enough to facilitate delivery of credit and other services to rural areas that are too costly for other methodologies to reach. The disadvantage of the strategy is that many credit unions and rural banks are relatively fragile institutions; this is compensated by the ability to spread risk across a large number of these relatively small institutions.

All aboard! Adding new wheels to the microfinance locomotive.

Dunford, Christopher. Microfinance Insights, 10: 37–39. (Jan/Feb 2009).

Get the article at Microfinance Insights (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

Over the last several decades, microfinance institutions have created an infrastructure of service delivery to the poor. Tens of thousands of microfinance field officers fan out across the developing world every day to meet groups of borrowers.

These relationships and channels can be used to leverage the delivery of services beyond credit, bringing greater benefit to the end customer. And, microfinance institutions could make financial gains in the process. Christopher Dunford, President of Freedom from Hunger, explains the rationale behind this shift and his organization’s experience with providing education along with credit.

Financing healthier lives: Empowering women through integration of microfinance and health education.

Dunford, Christopher, April Allen Watson and Anna Awimbo. United Nations Population Fund and Microcredit Summit Campaign. 20pp. (2008). NY: United Nations Population Fund. (English Only)

Get the publication at United Nations Population Fund (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

This document is an update of an earlier edition published in 2006 and primarily focuses attention on the strategy of integrating microfinance services with health education. Highlighted within are MCS's and UNFPA’s joint global efforts to empower women using this strategy, employing methodology developed by and receiving training in its use by a key partner, Freedom from Hunger.

Included is analysis from innovative work in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Of special note are the results from a pilot project in India that shows how local capacity can effectively be built to accelerate the large-scale global adoption of integration. The document also serves as a call to action for development agencies, governments, microfinance institutions (MFIs), and donors to invest in this strategy that holds the promise of making many of the MDG targets truly achievable. The final section offers eight concrete recommendations for action to realize the potential of the “combined services” approach of integrating microfinance services with health education. All eight actions rely on the development agencies, governments, MFIs and donors to promote integrated health education and microfinance while championing microfinance as one of the pillars for meeting the MDGs.

Leveraging SHGs to advance girls’ access to resources and influence in rural India: Learning games for girls

Chanani, Sheila and Bobbi Gray. In "Optimizing Microfinance Distribution Channels". Pages 8-17 (2008). Chennai, India : Centre for Microfinance at IFMR.

Abstract

This Freedom from Hunger report details product attributes of their adolescent health education training program, Learning Games for Girls, and discusses the development and implementation of this product. Following the authors’ discussion of the pilot program’s deployment through SHGs, the authors highlight key challenges and lessons learned from providing services to this target population.

Business training for microfinance clients: how it matters and for whom.

Frisancho, Verónica, Dean Karlan and Martin Valdivia. Poverty & Economic Policy Research Network: PMMA Working Paper 2008-11. 36pp. (May 2008). (English Only)

Get the article at Microfinance Gateway (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

This study evaluates the impact of adding entrepreneurial training to a microfinance program. It measures the impact of a business training program for female microentrepreneur clients of a group banking program of FINCA Peru, an MFI that sponsors village banks for poor, female microentrepreneurs.

Using the Credit with Education model, the experiment assigned clients randomly to either treatment or control groups. Treatment groups received thirty to sixty minute entrepreneurship training sessions during their normal weekly group banking meeting. This activity was sustained for a period of 1–2 years. Control groups met weekly with the group banking program solely for making loan and savings payments. The study found strong benefits for the MFI in the form of higher loan repayment and client retention; improved business processes and knowledge by the clients, an increase in business sales and a reduction in the fluctuation of business revenue; and significant heterogeneity in client exposure within the treatment group. The paper demonstrates that educating female entrepreneurs with access to credit about successful business practices can help both the client’s business and the MFI.

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