Tuesday
November 17
2015

NextBillion Editor

The Most Popular Posts on NextBillion for September

Congratulations NextBillion contributors whose posts were the most popular in September

Below are the most viewed articles for the month as well as the most shared on social media. For each post, we’ve also added the “money quote” or the key paragraph or passage. A special thanks to these contributors as well as all NB submitters.

 

NexThought Monday – Does Anti-Poverty Work Actually … Work?: Three questions every ‘pro-poor’ group needs to ask themselves by Chris Dunford and Carmen Velasco, co-chairs of the Truelift Steering Committee.

 

Do anti-poverty programs ease the burdens of poverty?

While the recent research into microfinance shows little to no increase of annual household income, on average, the same studies very often show that the burden of poverty is alleviated by giving microfinance participants access to money when they really need it during the year. Economists call this impact ‘consumption smoothing.’ In plain terms, it means people get enough to eat throughout the year instead of going without adequate food for a day, a week, or even months at a time. If so, this is an impact worth celebrating, is it not?

Even with this more modest and realistic expectation, some anti-poverty programs are effective and some are not. We know this from our collective experience in anti-poverty work, with more than 70 years between us. We know the challenge is to distinguish what works from what does not. It is better to seek out ‘pro-poor’ rather than ‘effective’ anti-poverty work, because there are gradations of effectiveness. All programs have room to improve. ‘Pro-poor’ programs actually strive to improve toward greater effectiveness. Transparency and accountability are not just about separating wheat from chaff; they are about improving.

How can we fully distinguish pro-poor programs from those that are not?

 

Rising Star or Red Flag?: South Africa’s financial inclusion growth raises questions for the entire industry by Illana Melzer, a co-founder of Eighty20 Consulting

 

The South African experience raises the possibility that our unshakable faith in the developmental impact of financial inclusion may be blinding us to important truths and dangerous risks. The building blocks and infrastructure required to bring developmentally focused financial services to the poor also bring products and services that might increase the risk exposure of households, while doing little to brighten their economic futures. It is worth remembering that supply chains in the clothing and furniture retailing sectors are easier to build than in the housing sector, that credit follows product, and that opportunity is hampered not only by limited access to finance.

 

How Does Economic Empowerment Happen? (Part 1): Listening for answers as five women participate in the Vital Voices GROW Fellowship by Nathan Rauh-Bieri, program coordinator of education at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan

 

The validity of women’s economic empowerment as a development priority doesn’t rely solely on support by the powerful mainstream, yet this support does seem to signal a changing of the zeitgeist. Gone are the days when organizations could claim to advance human rights or alleviate poverty without the participation of women. No longer merely a niche approach to development, what we see now is a broad-based, decentralized movement.

At the forefront of the movement is the Washington, D.C.-based Vital Voices Global Partnership, which carries the slogan ‘Invest in Women. Improve the World.’ With the support of the ExxonMobil Foundation, the founding partner for the VV GROW Fellowship and a longtime supporter of Vital Voices, Vital Voices works with women who lead small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.

 

Most Shared on Social Media:

 

NexThought Monday – Does Anti-Poverty Work Actually … Work?: Three questions every ‘pro-poor’ group needs to ask themselves

Different Worlds: Why digital payments should not be regulated as an offshoot of banking

Rising Star or Red Flag?: South Africa’s financial inclusion growth raises questions for the entire industry by Illana Melzer, a co-founder of Eighty20 Consulting

 

Editor’s Pick

NexThought: From Soap to Cassava – Mentoring Makes the Difference by Loren Guerriero, product manager at MicroMentor

Cynthia Ndubuisi Mene’s biodegradable liquid soap business, Ever Glow, enjoyed early success in her home country of Nigeria. But as she looked to expand, she sought the guidance of a mentor and found one through the MicroMentor.org network. Her relationship with a former UPS president has not only helped her scale EverGlow, but has led to new business opportunities.

 

Above image: The Réseau des Caisses Populaires in Burkina Faso (RCPB) discovered while providing savings and credit services to groups of rural women that they wanted information about how to prevent and treat malaria, a disease that kills children and robs adults of far too many productive work days. At left, an RCPB animatrice (field agent) shows a women’s group how to understand the symbols on a take-home card that shows illiterate people how malaria is prevented and treated. (Image credit: Freedom from Hunger and Karl Grobl)

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NextBillion Originals
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business development, financial inclusion, NextBillion.net, Women