Microfinance is the union of effective financial planning and social services. It bridges the gap between the financial and development worlds, and as such must strike a balance between practicality and compassion. Microfinance tools and services are used in a variety of social disciplines to drive development by empowering women, providing healthcare, supporting education, and lifting families out of poverty. To effectively implement microfinance programs to promote these ends, it is essential that the sector not focus on profit margins but rather on human values.
Human values in microfinance are a key set of principles by which MFIs and their employees must operate by to provide comprehensive support to their most marginalized clients. The overall mission of the microfinance sector should be to uplift clients rather than to maximize profits, with every MFI and each of their respective employees playing an instrumental role in bringing human values into their daily operations. Rather than interacting with clients as just potential loanees, MFIs should relate to them on a human level that breaks down the barriers between bank and client for a more successful and long-term relationship. While compassion, equality, and non-discrimination are not normally associated with the financial sector, they are absolutely essential for the growth and success of microfinance.
The National Microfinance Summit will focus on a variety of specific themes designed to create practical solutions for the sector’s most challenging issues. Human values in microfinance will be integrated in each of the workshops, lectures, and discussion sessions to foster results that are both practical and compassionate. To inspire meaningful dialogue, we encourage attendees to consider the following questions before the Summit:
How can human values in microfinance help to protect marginalized clients?
How can technology be used to spread inclusive finance while ensuring accountability?
What role does research play in the development of the microfinance sector?
How do challenges related to gender, caste, and geographic location affect access to finance?
What are the respective roles of government agencies, NGOs, and MFIs in monitoring and regulating the sector?
What should the long-term goals of Nepal’s microfinance sector be?
How can balance between effective finance and social services be achieved?