The study of microfinance is truly a study in adaptation and innovation.
Its the micro part of this field that makes it so particular. Financial services implemented on a grand scale–think of your own bank–find their success in replication and consistency. Visiting a bank teller in New York is not that fundamentally different than visiting a bank teller in San Diego. The services, terms, and basic principles remain constant. This makes sense.
But what happens when you’re on the other end of the scale spectrum? What happens when your model is rooted in the specific and fluid? What happens when you’re micro?
Meet our microfinance field partner in Nepal: Patan Business and Professional Women (BPW).
Established in 1995, Patan BPW launched its first microfinance initiative in 2002 with the goal of “improving the socio-economic status of impoverished women by increasing their access to resources for productive activities.” Since then, Patan BPW has provided financial services–small loans, savings accounts, and business development training–to its members throughout the southern Kathmandu Valley.
The success of Patan BPW can be credited to the emphasis on locally-tailored financial products and the adaptability of its field staff. In a country where monsoon rains, political strikes, and infrastructural limitations can make even the simplest task impossible, BPW’s staff make it happen every day. Whether its hopping on a motorcycle or hiking through flooded rice paddies, BPW ensures that financial services are available to the women entrepreneurs they serve.
To learn more about BPW and the incredible work they do, watch this short video about their partnership with Kiva.org.