At the re-launch of the Microcredit Summit Campaign during the 2006 Global Microcredit Summit in Halifax, Canada, Summit delegates established two goals for the Campaign to pursue through 2015: 1) to reach 175 million of the world’s poorest with microfinance and 2) to help 100 million families lift themselves out of severe poverty. Since the founding of the Campaign in 1997, we have been committed to tracking progress towards our goals, and until recently, we had been on track to reach 175 million by 2015.
According to our most recent data, at the end of 2011, fewer of the world’s poorest families received access to microcredit and other financial services than in 2010. Most of the reduction in clients happened in India, in the aftermath of a microfinance lending crisis in the state of Andhra Pradesh in 2010 (click here to learn more).
Achieving our goals of reaching the world’s poorest families and providing them with tools to aid their climb out of poverty will require more than a focus on growth. It will require a new understanding of our clients’ needs, preferences, and aspirations, as well as new tools for delivering products and services at lower costs.
Therefore, the Campaign has chosen to focus its attention on the harder-to-measure second goal. Ensuring movement out of extreme poverty and tracking their progress will require an intentional shift in focus by Campaign members in their own work as well as collaboration among a multitude of organizations with a wide range of areas of expertise. In order to make these new relationships a reality, we are redefining our role in the industry to focus on building bridges among microfinance initiatives and between microfinance and other sectors such as health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure.
With this new vision of member engagement, we at the Campaign will work with members through their respective Councils to develop Campaign Commitments. (Click here to see which Council you should join.) Microfinance stakeholders—from practitioners to investors, from advocates to government agencies, and beyond—will focus their commitment on specific and measurable actions and principally be future-oriented in describing what the member will pledge to do over the next year. Commitments may also be multi-year in duration but must have a staged approach so that targets can be measured each year. In developing a commitment, Campaign members should be guided by the 4 core themes of reaching the poorest, empowering women, ensuring a positive, measureable impact, and achieving financial self-sustainability. (Click here to see sample Commitments that you can customize to fit your needs.)
The Campaign will track and report on progress made on these commitments through public fora such as the Campaign website, our blog called 100 Million Ideas, the Summits, and our annual State of the Campaign Report. Campaign Commitments will be the first global and measurable set of commitments by a wide range of organizations from different expertise areas that are expressly established to help 100 million families lift themselves out of severe poverty while ensuring different actors are held accountable for their commitments and make tangible progress towards achieving this important goal.
Refocusing on movement out of poverty will strengthen the Campaign’s role as an advocate for microfinance as a poverty intervention. Commitments will generate unity of purpose among an increasingly diverse industry, facilitate new synergistic relationships among these actors, and build global investment and engagement towards achieving this important goal.
More information about the process of making your Commitment to helping 100 Million will be coming soon.
To learn more about this change, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.