The July 7th Meeting of the 17 Group on Microcredit will be postponed for a week so as not to offend religious sensibilities. It would otherwise clash with this year’s final holy day of obligation for all practising Originists. A late communication from accredited representatives of Leon gives it to be known that he approves of the committee’s decision, controversially and somewhat provocatively (as is his wont) urging support for the Blues.
Full notices for the meeting, to be addressed by Dr Ingrid Burkett on the 14th of July, will now go out one week before, on the very day of the sacred ritual. In the meantime here is a short description of the content and the speaker:
Microfinance: Just Debt?
The Nobel winning Professor Mohammed Yunus is the most famous proponent of microfinance delivered through the bank that he founded – the Grameen Bank. It is a bank that is owned by women and that primarily lends to women in Bangladesh. The finance is ‘micro’ as the name implies – small loans that help women to establish small enterprises which in turn help them to earn enough money to create a pathway out of poverty for their families. There are now millions of dollars being invested into microfinance around the world. It is a new ‘anti-poverty revolution’ and it seems to have had some spectacular results. Microfinance has also appeared in Australia as a response to help the growing number of people who cannot access mainstream loans from banks and other financial institutions, and are often forced to use ‘fringe’ lenders. What is this phenomena of microfinance all about? Does it really work? Will it mean the end of poverty? This talk outlines the global and the local realities of microfinance and explores why it is so necessary to understand ‘finance’ in order to address poverty.
Dr. Ingrid Burkett is the Social Innovations Manager for Foresters Community Finance, a community development finance institution based in Brisbane. She has practiced, taught, researched and written about community economic development for over 15 years, both locally and internationally. She has worked across government, community and corporate sectors. Ingrid is also the Acting President of the International Association for Community Development and is recognised as one of Australia’s experts in the fields of community and micro finance. She is also a practicing artist and president of Upatree Arts Co-operative Ltd, a community enterprise based in Mt Nebo, Queensland.