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.

Why set a threshold for service orientation to the very poor?

Dunford, Christopher. Freedom from Hunger discussion paper. 8pp. (2002). (English Only)

Abstract

Are the microfinance institutions serving the poorest? This discussion paper makes a case for orientation of microfinance institutions (MFIs) to the very poor. It advocates USAID's approach to promote micro-enterprise development (MED) instead of only micro-credit.

Microfinance as a vehicle for educating the poor.

Dunford, Christopher. Development Bulletin, 57:111–114. (February 2002). (English Only)

Get the article at The Australian National University's Development Studies Network (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

Microfinance can be a powerful tool for giving the poor more economic options. However, the very poor need more than microfinance to address the causes and conditions of their poverty. Ideally, they would have access to a coordinated combination of microfinance and other development services to improve business, income and assets, health, nutrition, family planning, education of children, social support networks, and so on.

Credit with Education impact review no. 1: Women’s empowerment.

MkNelly, Barbara and Mona McCord. 22pp. (October 2001). (English Only)

Building better lives: Sustainable integration of microfinance and education in child survival, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS prevention for the poorest entrepreneurs.

Dunford, Christopher. Journal of Microfinance, 3 (2): 1–25. (2001). (English Only)

Get the article through Brigham Young University's ESR Review (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

This paper provides diverse examples of microfinance institutions that have responded successfully to the challenge of integrating microfinance with non-financial services, without compromising the impacts or sustainability of their microfinance and overall operations.

Special attention is given to the integration of microfinance with health education for very poor women, including the promotion of family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention management. The credit and education components reinforce each other by addressing the informational as well as the economic obstacles to health and nutrition. There is good potential for large-scale, self-financing delivery of microfinance and education together in one efficient and effective service package. The key element is delivery of both services by one field staff. This requires management to make an extra commitment to staff recruitment, training, and supervision. Where operating grants are available to support non-financial services, management may prefer to employ two specialized field staffs to deliver the two types of service in parallel to the same clients.

Mali poverty outreach study of the Kafo Jiginew and Nyèsigiso Credit and Savings with Education Programs.

Nteziyaremye, Anastase and Barbara MkNelly. Freedom from Hunger Research Paper No. 7. 97pp. (May 2001). Davis, CA : Freedom from Hunger.

Credit with Education: A promising Title II microfinance strategy.

Dunford, Christopher and Vicki Denman. Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANta) Project, Academy for Educational Development. 44pp. (March 2001). (English Only)

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

Abstract

This paper introduces the reader to microfinance integrated with health and nutrition education as a promising strategy for Public Law 480 Title II (monetized food aid) practitioners. 

A business model for going down market: Combining village banking and credit unions.

Stack, Kathleen and Didier Thys. Microbanking Bulletin, 5: 9–12. (September 2000). (English Only)

Get the article at The Microbanking Bulletin (this link will open in a new window).

Abstract

This paper investigates a business model for profitably serving the poorest segments of the microfinance market, along with some encouraging preliminary results. This article explores a creative way to break old paradigms in the quest to fulfill the dual objectives of outreach and sustainability.It presents the experience of Freedom From Hunger, an NGO that supports programs that combine micro-credit with low-cost, high-impact education sessions in nutrition, health and better business. It states that Freedom From Hunger's approach seeks to reduce delivery costs by partnering with credit unions in a number of countries. It argues that this allows the very poor to be served through an institution that already has a market presence, reduces delivery costs and enhances financial performance. It concludes that the poor are good business: "By redirecting financial services to the rural poor, credit unions can improve utilization and circulation of idle assets" working with the very poor provides opportunities to achieve important efficiencies.

Depth of Outreach: Incidental outcome or conscious policy choice?

Thys, Didier. Nexus, 43:7–11. (2000). (English Only)

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

In search of “sound practices” for microfinance.

Dunford, Christopher. Journal of Microfinance, 2(1): 6–12 (Spring 2000). (English Only)

Get the article at Brigham Young University's Digital Collection (link will open in a new window).

Abstract

The notion of “best practices” for all microfinance is challenged in favor of “sound practices” that are appropriate for particular organizational strategies and situations. A simple conceptual framework is offered to facilitate understanding of the current diversity of experiments with product-market pairs (e.g., group-based lending to poor women struggling to earn enough for family survival).

Since the microfinance movement is still in a mode of intensive learning, we should not presume too soon what will be “best” for all product-market pairs. We can expect to discover a somewhat different set of sound practices for each distinct product-market pair.

The Holy Grail of microfinance: “Helping the poor” and “sustainable”?

Dunford, Christopher. Small Enterprise Development. 11(1):40–44. (March 2000). (English Only)

You may purchase the article from the Small Enterprise Development via IngentaConnect(link will open in a new window).

Abstract

The term "microfinance institutions" covers a broad spectrum from traditional businesses, for whom social objectives are only a by-product, to traditional social service organizations, for whom reaching the poorest is the prime objective.

In between are social enterprises, which are explicitly aiming at reaching very poor people (however defined) but at the same time are aiming at sustainability. This article takes the case of Freedom from Hunger’s Bolivian counterpart, CRECER, and shows how although CRECER is making substantial progress, its success in meeting both these objectives depends on how they are defined. For example, what proportion of better-off women is allowed among the target group of poor women? And should ‘sustainability’ include, as well as meeting operational and financial costs, repaying the original donor for their start-up investment? It is argued that most social enterprise MFIs cannot and should not attempt to do this but should aim to provide good-value services for poor people for a very long time.

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