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Microfinance is a groundbreaking global anti-poverty strategy that began modestly in the 1970’s, in unlikely places such as Bangladesh and Brazil. It provides loans, savings and other financial services to people – mostly women – struggling to survive through self-employment.

It is a dramatic departure from traditional charity-based methods. Money is loaned, not given. Repayment is expected. Interest is charged. It places the responsibility – and freedom – for self-advancement on the borrower.

Independent studies have documented the impressive gains many people have made by simply gaining fair access to working capital, often for the first time in their lives. More than half the clients of major programs in Bangladesh have escaped poverty.

Today, more than one hundred million families worldwide have gained access to microfinance. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, the microfinance instiution he founded in Bangladesh, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006.

For the past twenty years, Rooy Media LLC has chronicled the growth of this strategy, documenting the work of more than thirty microfinance institutions around the globe. The following organizations are key partners in that effort:

 

The Microcredit Summit Campaign has led a remarkably successful effort to advance the practice of microfinance around the world. In 1997, the first Summit was held in Washington D.C., setting the goal of reaching one hundred million poor women with microfinance worldwide within ten years. This goal has now been realized.

In 2007, the Campaign launched a new set of goals: reaching 175 million families by 2015, and tracking the emergence of 100 million of them out of extreme poverty. In support of this work, Rooy Media LLC has produced the following:

Boldness and Commitment, a short “flagship” video, recounts the dramatic story of the microfinance movement and the Campaign’s role. It inspires the viewer to join the Campaign and help to achieve some of the most important anti-poverty goals in history.

Participatory Wealth Ranking, a training video that shows how the Small Enterprise Foundation in South Africa uses an innovative, cost-effective poverty assessment tool to identify and serve the poorest members in a community.

The Cashpor House Index, a training program that demonstrates how Cashpor India, a microfinance organization in Uttar Pradesh, uses a formula involving the size and structure of a family’s house to inexpensively determine which families are poorest and especially in need of Cashpor’s services.

Building Better Lives, a training video profiling two Bolivian microfinance organizations, CRECER and Pro Mujer, that combine microfinance and informal adult education (in reproductive health, child survival and HIV/AIDS prevention) in two very different, innovative ways


Grameen Foundation is an international organization headquartered in Washington D.C. that empowers the world’s poorest people to lift themselves out of poverty with access to tiny loans, financial services, and information technology.

Founded in 1997 by a group of friends who were inspired by the work of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, its global network of partners reaches three million families in 22 countries.

Breaking Through is an introductory video that profiles Grameen Foundation’s efforts to help the world’s poorest people break through from poverty by starting or expanding tiny businesses. It offers the viewer a first-hand view of what access to credit and technology has meant for millions of people around the world.


Fonkoze is Haiti’s alternative bank for the organized poor. Its mission is to build the economic foundation for democracy in Haiti. Established in 1994, Fonkoze now serves more than 100,000 people. It offers micro-loans, savings products, and other financial services – and operates important education and health programs as well.

Fonkoze emphasizes solidarity; it gives priority to rural women; it practices participation; it believes in transparency; and, branch by branch, it achieves sustainability.

Going the Distance is a “flagship” video that dramatically conveys the critical needs of rural Haitians, and how they are meeting them with Fonkoze’s help. It invites the viewer to support Fonkoze’s work – especially its bold strategy to tackle and eliminate extreme poverty in Haiti.

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