by JP Kloninger, Regional Director for the Americas
At Whole Planet Foundation, we hold that microfinance is not a “silver bullet,” but an important component in a series of factors which can permanently lift people, families, and communities out of poverty. Additionally, because people near the base of the economic pyramid often rely on subsistence farming or basic food trade for their livelihood, significant resources have gone into supporting smallholder agriculture in the developing world.
Back in 2007, when Matt and Catherine O’Hayer started pasture-raising hens, their thoughts were never just on the birds in their care, but in using whatever means at their disposal to affect lasting change. Directly, that meant challenging long-held assumptions in the food business – that sustainable could not mean scalable, and vice versa. That challenged Matt to pioneer an entirely new on-shelf category in the egg set – pasture-raised – and disrupt an industry that had become moribund and commoditized.
To get a good job and earn a good salary: stay in school, go to college, and get a degree. So goes the conventional wisdom, and the research bears this out. Countless studies have shown that individuals with college degrees will earn more money over the course of their careers than those without a degree.
But the numbers also show that for many, the degree comes with a mountain of student loan debt that will take a good portion of their careers to pay off.
First in a two-part guest blog series from Sophie Eckrich, a former Whole Planet Foundation intern and founder of Teysha.
Ten years ago, I embarked for a life-changing journey as an intern for Whole Planet Foundation with their microfinance partner, Grameen Bank, in Panajachel, Guatemala. I was 19 years old, a rising Sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, and I had no idea what to expect.
by Zoe So, Whole Planet Foundation Eastern/Southern Africa Regional Director
One of the core assumptions of microfinance is that the ability to reach a large number of borrowers helps bring efficiencies, sustainability, and impact. Many microfinance organizations often talk about their success in terms of scale and big picture numbers: how many borrowers do they reach? How big has the loan portfolio grown?
Thanks to our microfinance partners around the globe who are working diligently daily to serve the world's poorest people, the average first microloan size we fund decreased over several fiscal quarters from $187 to $184 then $182 to now $180. What does this signify? That our partners continue to serve the unserved and that Whole Planet Foundation funds have created 15 million opportunities for low-income entrepreneurs to lift themselves and their family members out of poverty.
Microfinance loans and value chain services support smallholder farmers, women and entrepreneurship in Georgia
TBILISI, Georgia, May 29, 2018 /3BL Media/ – Crystal, a leading Georgian microfinance lender, has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to provide access to finance – including loans and value chain services – to 30,000 new clients in rural areas of Georgia, as well as disperse 1,000 new loans for green/solar solutions and energy efficiency projects by 2020. As part of this commitment, Crystal will continue its record of fostering economic opportunity for farmers, women and micro entrepreneurs.
Small Change founder Eve Picker wants everyone to be able to invest in urban renewal — and reap the rewards.
Throughout 2018, we will be celebrating today’s new class of reinventors, inspiring people who defy convention while redefining their impact on our world. From city planners to philanthropic entrepreneurs, artists and more, we are spotlighting interesting people doing amazing acts of reinvention.