This paper examines the development of a strategy that can offer the poor access to a coordinated combination of microfinance and other development services to meet their multifaceted needs.

Increasing income and assets alone is not enough to combat serious challenges that the poor face, such as childhood malnutrition, maternal and neonatal mortality and HIV/AIDS. Provision of integrated services through creative partnerships between different development sectors can lead to operational efficiencies and synergies of benefits. The paper provides information about integrated efforts by MFIs in areas like health education, health financing and insurance, links to health care providers and access to health products. It concludes that:

  • Integration of microfinance with non-financial services has great potential for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • Extension of integrated services on a large scale for national and global impact requires high level support;
  • Governments and development agencies can expedite the achievement of the MDGs by supporting integration of poverty-focused microfinance and non-financial services.