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Posts Tagged ‘literacy’

In 2002 I visited Ashrai, an NGO in northwest Bangladesh that was forming savings-financed ‘self-help groups’ among some of the world’s poorest women. I was referred to Ashrai by Stuart Rutherford, and I was writing an article about them for a microfinance journal.

Empowering women?

Picture this: it is mid-day in a Naogaon village, and a group of 20 women are seated in a loose square on woven bamboo mats. Clean, brightly coloured saris are draped over their shoulders, and flow down their legs.

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The work of Denise Schmandt-Besserat is reshaping our concept of the origins of writing and counting, shedding new light on both the challenges and opportunities in village finance practice.

A scholar of ancient Near Eastern studies at the University of Texas, her books provide strong evidence of her thesis that writing in Mesopotamia came long after strong institutions. It evolved from “a system of tokens – (more…)

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Poor villagers in the developing world are a distinctive, underserved microfinance segment. There are nearly a billion rural people who make less than $1.25 a day, and most are illiterate or marginally literate, so microfinance documents are inaccessible to them.

There are three widely neglected factors that make rural microfinance fundamentally different from urban microfinance. (more…)

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Rural villages in the developing world are oral cultures; that is cultures in which the technologies of literacy (especially writing and print) are unfamiliar to most people.

Kraing Tbong Village Bank, Takeo

A village bank in Cambodia

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