We chose to focus largely on Africa as an important target region for women microfinance practitioner scholarships, given that microfinance there is less developed than in other regions. Our focus is on women microfinance practitioners who work in middle management, so that the scholarship may contribute to a woman’s career promotion to senior management over time.
We were further encouraged by a recent study* that came out earlier this year of 379 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 73 countries that found that “a female CEO and a female chairman are positively related to microbank performance, but this result is driven by MFI’s female market orientation…because a female leader may more easily tap into the local information sources and be able to set up products better suited for the microbanks’ customers than their male peers.” Therefore, supporting the professional growth of women in microfinance helps to ensure that MFIs have and maintain a focus on women clients.
Our goals are two-fold at this time:
1) Support one African woman microfinance practitioner to attend the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program (SMDP) to be held in Ghana in March 2011 (March 14–25, 2011).
The SMDP is headquartered at the University of New Hampshire and offers trainings in Ghana, New Hampshire and Zanzibar (Tanzania) every year. It was formerly known as the Microenterprise and Development Institute (MDI) at the School of Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). One major reason for choosing the SMDP-Ghana training for scholarship support is that it is in Africa and we feel it is important to build the capacity of training programs actually offered IN Africa, instead of in Europe or the U.S.
2) Support two women microfinance practitioners from the “global south” to attend the Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., November 1-5, 2010. We selected one candidate from Ghana and another from Nicaragua. In addition to the conference workshops, the women will attend a two-day training on Social Performance Monitoring. These two scholarship recipients will be featured in a WAM-NY event on the evening of Monday, November 8th. Location is TBA, but if people are interested in being added to our events list, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
* “Gender, Performance and Governance in Microfinance Institutions” May 2010, by R. Oysetin Strom, Oslo University College, Oslo, Norway; Bert d’Espallier, Lessius Hogeschool, Belgium; and Roy Mersland, Agder University, Kristiansand, Norway.
Women Advancing Microfinance-New York (WAM-NY) invites you to attend our first scholarship fundraising event on the evening of Tuesday, October 12th.
To be held at: Moore Brothers Wine Company (33 East 20th Street, New York City)
The event will raise funds for women microfinance practitioners from the Global South to attend specialized training programs and conferences to improve their skills and career development.
100% of the proceeds from the event will go directly to WAM Scholarships.
While enjoying a selection of artisanal wines from Italy, France & Germany, you will have an opportunity to learn more about WAM and the importance of women in economic development, particularly in microfinance programs as both clients and microfinance leaders. The event will also include a raffle and a silent auction.
Our featured speaker is Christine Roth, Deputy Executive Secretary and Director of Operations at the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
Price: $85 per person – including tasting 5 wines (2 red, 2 white, 1 sparkling) and African appetizers; All 2010 WAM-NY members will receive two (2) FREE raffle tickets at the door.
The scholarship initiative has been launched in partnership with WAM International, WAM-NY’s parent organization and a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Therefore, all ticket purchases and donations will be tax deductible to the maximum level allowed by law. Tax deduction letters will be provided for all donations.
WAM New York is a membership organization launched in 2005 whose mission is to support women with a passion for microfinance. WAM New York helps women to reach their full potential by promoting their professional growth, providing leadership opportunities, expanding professional networks, and inspiring them to achieve and share their successes while maintaining a work/life balance.
To further its mission, WAM New York conducts activities that:
· Support professional growth of women in microfinance;
· Highlight women’s leadership and accomplishments, and promote the successes of women entrepreneurs as microfinance clients;
· Educate women in the different approaches and models of microfinance;
· Expand the participation of women in management and governance roles;
· Continue to raise gender issues in microfinance with a collective voice.
WAM New York is a chapter of WAM International, a global network of over 400 women professionals in microfinance from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Latin America. WAM International was founded in 2003 and is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.