One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many. One Hen shows what happens when a little help makes a big difference.
Rickshaw Girl, by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan
Naima, a ten-year-old Bangladeshi girl has a series of misadventures while trying to help her family earn money. Her talent for painting leads to an unexpected opportunity, while young readers get to learn about microfinance through a colorful woman-owned rickshaw shop.
Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, by Muhammad Yunus
This is a great introduction to microfinance - an easy read which tells, in his own words, the story of how Muhammad Yunus started Grameen Bank (one of the first microfinance operations which is now an independent bank in Bangladesh).
The Economics of Microfinance by Beatriz Armendariz deAghion and Jonathan Morduch
Not for the weak of heart - this is a very in-depth book focusing on the economics of microfinance, which is used often as a college text book.
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, by Jeffrey Sachs.
Jeffrey Sachs has a 9 step plan to eliminate extreme poverty by the year 2025. Not directly related to microfinance, but directly related to the reason Kiva facilitates it.
A Billion Bootstraps by Philip Smith and Eric Thurman
A bold manifesto by two business leaders, A Billion Bootstraps shows why microcredit is the world's most powerful poverty-fighting movement-and an unbeatable investment for your charitable donations. A Billion Bootstraps explains how ordinary people can accelerate the microcredit movement by investing charitable donations in specific programs and then leveraging those contributions so the net cost to lift one person out of poverty is remarkably low.
Websites and Organizations
CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest)
CGAP is a consortium of 33 public and private development agencies working together to expand access to financial services for the poor in developing countries. CGAP is a resource center for the microfinance industry, where it incubates and supports new ideas, innovative products, cutting-edge technology, novel mechanisms for delivering financial services, and concrete solutions to the challenges of expanding microfinance. CGAP publishes many papers on microfinance which are available for download at this site.
Grameen Bank started in 1976 when Prof. Muhammad Yunus loaned $27 to 42 women in a village in Bangladesh. Today Grameen Bank has 5.89 million borrowers and has disbursed over USD $5.4 billion with a 98% recovery rate. As Grameen Bank is now a formal bank it is often viewed as the ideal development of a microfinance institution. For an overview of Grameen Bank visit http://www.grameen-info.org/bank/GBGlance.htm. This site also includes a number of papers Prof. Yunus has written on microcredit and social entrepreneurism.
The Microcredit Summit Campaign
The Microcredit Summit Campaign is a project of RESULTS Educational Fund, and was launched to reach 100 million of the world's poorest families with credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the year 2005. The Campaign publishes an annual report "The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign" which documents their progress towards achieving this goal. You can download the latest report here. [PDF]
The Microfinance Gateway
The Microfinance Gateway is managed by CGAP and is a comprehensive source of information for and about the microfinance industry including research and publications, discussion groups, specialized resource centers, organization and consultant profiles, and the latest news, events, and job opportunities in microfinance.
If you are new to microfinance and would like to get more involved in the industry, this is a great way to find events and organizations in your area.
The MIX (Microfinance Information eXchange)
The MIX is a not-for-profit private organization supported by CGAP, the Citigroup Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Rockdale Foundation, and other private foundations.
The MIX intends to address one of the key challenges of the microfinance industry: the lack of reliable, comparable and publicly available information on the financial strength and performance of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), which underpins the development of the market for microfinance services. This is a great place to get more information about specific microfinance institutions.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund Microfinance website is a great resource for basic facts about microfinance, as well as learning what the UNCDF is doing in this area. It also offers an in-depth Microfinance Distance Learning Course for people new to microfinance.
United Nations International Year of Microcredit 2005
The International Year of Microcredit 2005 called for building inclusive financial sectors and strengthening the powerful, but often untapped, entrepreneurial spirit existing in communities around the world. Check out the official UN website for this event to see what you missed.
The Virtual Library on Microcredit
This resource began as a homepage on Informal Credit Markets and over time became The Virtual Library on Microcredit, one of five programs of the Global Development Research Center. Today the Virtual Library on Microcredit is a repository of information on alternative, non-conventional financial systems and microfinance/microcredit issues. A great place to find microfinance book reviews, papers and news and events.