Posted by: Ali | February 4, 2010

Microfinanzas PRISMA

I am pleased to announce that I found a microfinance placement, which is super-awesome because I think it’s one of the most interesting subjects in the development world.  The problem is, to actually do microfinance work entails an intensive knowledge of economics and lending practices, the ability to assess risk, etc.  With a volunteer who might only be around for two months, the volunteer doesn’t have time to get trained, understand how the organization works, and be able to work independently actually loaning out money.

Thus, it was very hard for me to find a related placement for people like me who think that kind of work is interesting.  Instead of actually administering loans, the volunteers can help out with a few research projects that the NGO, PRISMA, is working on.  The purpose of giving these loans is from a social perspective, to assist with development, and so a component or condition of the loan is an educational component, where the loan recipients (usually parents with children) are taught about things like nutrition and education so that combined with a little bit of added cash the families can work on improving the standard of living for themselves and their children.

The second research project that is going on is a bit of a health census, where a nurse is working in partnership with the organization to find out about the general level of health of the community.

Be warned, all ye who are interested – I hope you like meetings!  When I went with a volunteer this week, I was invited to join in a meeting that I was assured would be only 30 more minutes.  Two hours later, I announced that I needed to go for lunch and they still weren’t done!

Meeting, complete with Inca Kola


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