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The Microcredit Summit Campaign brings together microfinance practitioners, advocates, educational institutions, donor agencies, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and others involved with microfinance to promote best practices in the field, to stimulate the interchanging of knowledge and to work towards reaching our goals.
In 1997, the first Microcredit Summit launched a nine-year campaign to reach 100 million of the world’s poorest families, especially the women of those families, with credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the year 2005.
In November of 2006 the Campaign was re-launched with two new goals:
In addition to our goals, the Campaign has four core themes that focus not only on the number of clients reached but also on the quality of the practitioners’ work:
While we recognize the importance of financial inclusion for all overlooked by the traditional banking sector, the Campaign specifically focuses on reaching the poorest families. In developing countries these are families living below 50 percent of the poverty line. In industrialized countries the Campaign is focused on all of those living below their nation’s poverty line.
Experience shows that women are a good credit risk, and that woman-run businesses tend to benefit family members more directly than those run by men. At the same time, through earning an income women achieve a higher status in their homes, their communities, and their nations.
Experience has shown that microcredit programs in developing countries can improve their efficiency by structuring their interest rates and fees to eventually cover their operating and financial costs. Though the economic context in industrialized countries is radically different, the Summit encourages programs in these countries to explore ways of becoming self-sufficient so that, to the greatest extent possible, their operating costs will be covered through direct revenue from program services.
While financial measures such as program repayment rates give an indication of the strength of a microcredit institution, the Campaign is committed to programs having a positive, measurable impact on the lives of the very poor. The Campaign’s 100 Million Project is directly linked to this effort by promoting the use of and collecting data from, poverty measurement tools to enable MFIs to generate products and services that best help their clients move out of poverty.
Additionally, the Campaign is the administrative home of Truelift, the industry initiative formerly called the Seal of Excellence for Poverty Outreach and Transformation. Truelift aims to certify institutions reaching the poorest clients and achieving results, and to share best practice of institutions that are having the greatest success in achieving their poverty outreach missions.