Global Laser Talk July 2011

House Microfinance Legislation

Beatrice Ngendo was a single grandmother living with 12 grandchildren in Kenya’s Mathare Valley. Beatrice’s children and their spouses all died of AIDS, and the situation looked very desperate. But Beatrice heard about Jamii Bora, an effective microfinance organization, and joined in 2000. With access to financial services, Beatrice developed a grocery store, a butchery, a restaurant, and rental house. Even better, her grandchildren got back into school.

In Africa alone, only 10 percent of people have access to basic financial services for saving and borrowing. Statistics like this are shocking, and this reality prevents millions from lifting themselves out of poverty.

But successes like Beatrice’s can be repeated by expanding access to microfinance. Representatives Chris Smith and Bobby Rush are introducing a bill to focus USAID microfinance funding toward the very poor.

Would you be interested in getting more information on this bill and possibly being an early cosponsor? I would be happy to get you any information you might need.