Growing up in Central Luzon, Philippines, Conchita Quintero was not able to complete her schooling. Working all day at home doing laundry, Conchita vowed that she would help her children. When she first met with employees of Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI), a Filipino microfinance provider, Conchita and her children were living on less than US$1.25 a day.
She received loans from ASKI, but she also received much more: a place to save and build assets for the future, training in business and in how to access markets with higher value, and membership in a microinsurance association that provides healthcare for her family.
The Microcredit Summit Campaign was started to make sure that the 1.4 billion people in the world living on less than $1.25 a day have the same opportunities that Conchita and her children have: the chance to access financial tools and other services they need to lift themselves out of poverty.
Every year since 1998 we have collected Institutional Action Plans from microfinance providers around the world to see how many of the world’s poorest families have access to these services. And, every year those numbers have grown—until this year. In 2011, microfinance providers reached fewer people living in extreme poverty than they had in 2010.
In this report we will look at why this is true and what the microfinance community can do to improve the products and services it provides to those struggling to manage vulnerability with limited income.
Note: For the purpose of this report and the Summit’s 19-year fulfillment campaign, any mention of “microcredit” refers to programs that provide credit for self-employment and other financial and business services (including savings and technical assistance) to very poor persons