Replicating finance programmes in Malawi and Malaysia
The example of the Grameen Bank has been emulated in all parts of the developing world, with varying degrees of success. This article compares two such replications, the Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) and the Malawi Mudzi Fund (MMF). Both of these projects have experienced troubles since their launch; the AIM seems to have overcome its initial set-backs, whereas the MMF is still experiencing difficulties. The question is asked why the Grameen Bank model should have succeeded in the case of AIM, but not, so far, in the MMF. The fact that MMF's director is allowed less autonomy in the management structure to make decisions about how to run the programme is highlighted as a major weakness in this attempt to adapt a development model to a new country.
Microenterprise and children – what are the intra-household impacts of income-generating programmes?
The last decade has seen a rapid increase in the use of income-generating programmes (IGPs) to alleviate poverty by national governments, official donors and NGOs. This article summarizes the findings of a study commissioned by Save the Children Fund to examine the impacts of IGPs on children. An underlying assumption of most IGPs is that if household income (HHI) is increased, then the welfare of all household members, and thus children, is enhanced. The article argues that in many contexts this assumption may be invalid and points out how little empirical material is available to substantiate or refute the proposition. For most agencies children are 'invisible': they are 'not seen and not heard' in programme plans, reports or evaluations. The article points to the need to remedy this situation and also lists a number of tentative conclusions about how IGPs might be modified to help improve their welfare impacts.
Is microdebt good for poor people? A note on the dark side of microfinance