In many countries, microfinance plays an important role in poverty alleviation, job creation and local development. The ILO policy on microfinance for decent work is grounded in the 2002 International Labour Conference resolution on the informal economy, which presents microfinance as a bridge that helps informal operators find their way into the mainstream economy.
Microfinance is also seen as an instrument to reduce poverty and social vulnerability. It therefore translates fundamental ILO values into action: it opens up opportunities for better livelihoods, fosters solidarity and empowers the working poor.
Microfinance is the provision of sustainable financial services to the poor, including credit, savings, guarantees, insurance, transfer payments, remittances and other transactions. Microfinance seeks to extend the financial market to a wider segment of the population, including young people and women. To do so in a sustainable way, microfinance institutions must eventually become self-financing.
By 2010, 192 million clients were being served by microfinance institutions. 128 million of them were among the poorest when they took out their first loan. Despite these accomplishments, the microfinance industry is under increasing criticism for failing to
meet expectations, because 2.5 billion people have no access yet to formal financial services.
To meet this challenge, the ITC-ILO has developed demand-driven training packages on microfinance and capacity-building. Our network of certified trainers can hold these courses in eight languages. The packages include the following topics:
- making microfinance work: managing for improved performance
- making microfinance work: managing product diversification
- leasing work for small and micro enterprises
- making micro-insurance work for microfinance institutions
- microfinance in conflict-affected communities (with UNHCR).
In addition, the ITC-ILO hosts the annual three-week microfinance training event of the Boulder Institute of Microfinance. which, to date, has provided training to 3,600 participants from 140 countries. In Turin, they engage in dynamic debate and exchange with professionals from all over the world.
The Centre also offers courses on Guarantee funds for small enterprises, on Strategies for the extension of social security, which includes schemes for workers in the informal economy, and on Gender, poverty and employment, which also looks at microfinance.
These training programmes receive technical support from the ILO's Social Finance Programme.Source: www.itcilo.org
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