Grameen Foundation and Microsoft Join Forces to Accelerate Impact of Technology for Microfinance

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December 02, 2009

George Conard is the Executive Director of Technology for Microfinance at Grameen Foundation

technology

Advancing the use of technology across the microfinance industry

Over the past decade, technology has played a key role in Grameen Foundation’s mission to alleviate poverty.  From equipping microfinance institutions with the capacity to manage technology to building and delivering industry-wide solutions like our Mifos software platform, our goal is to advance the use of technology across the microfinance industry.  The driving force is our Technology for Microfinance Initiative which seeks to transform technology from a barrier into an accelerator for the growth and impact of microfinance.

Today, I’m happy to announce our collaboration with Microsoft, a demonstrated leader in helping NGOs worldwide use technology more effectively to support their work.  Together, we have convened the Microfinance Leadership Summit, a series of education and mentorship forums geared towards helping microfinance executives invest more strategically in technology and managing it more effectively.  The first in the series launched today in the Philippines and we will expand it to other countries over the coming year.

Technology use among MFIs has grown significantly over the past five years, but, we believe that its impact can be accelerated by making more strategic investments.  Grameen Foundation stands committed to doing that in two ways:

  1. An open approach that promotes transparency, access, knowledge transfer, and innovation.
  2. A focus on investing in flexible solutions, effective technology management capacity, and measurable social and business results.

Through this open approach to technology investment, we can unite the entire industry including MFIs, industry stakeholders, funders, and technology providers behind a common vision that technology is a critical enabler for the effectiveness of microfinance.

Aligning with influential global technology leaders like Microsoft is a fundamental component of creating a sustainable ecosystem of microfinance practitioners and technology providers that can enable microfinance to continue to grow and provide more vital services to the world’s poor.  This inaugural summit will be a critical stepping off point in helping us build out replicable models to transfer knowledge and empower microfinance executives with the practical skills to use technology effectively.

With the Philippines as a proving ground for this working ecosystem advancing technology-enabled microfinance, we look forward to working with Microsoft to extend the Microfinance Leadership Summit to other burgeoning regions that are undergoing transformation through technology.

Comments

To
Micro finenc in joyn

We have a very interesting Fund-Raising going on here ... every time we end up playing any cash games (Poker, cards etc) at our gatherings we put 50% of the bets into an 'Orange Juice' bottle ... it is fun ... encouraging and has been very successful .. we have around $500 in couple of months.

Just thought I will share this idea !

Please don’t get too close to Microsoft! They mean well, but they do have a goal of getting the developing world stuck on their proprietary platforms and standards, requiring expensive upgrades and technical support from one company alone (and preventing technical expertise from developing elsewhere). Stay vigilant and rebuff them if they ask to have the Grameen Foundation switch to Microsoft products or services, for instance, or if they try to use Grameen Foundation to promote Microsoft platforms in the developing world.

THE MICRO-DOCTOR

SELF-SUSTAINING AND AFFORDABLE DOCTORING,A NEW PARADYNE

The systemic injury to African economy caused by Colonial Imperialism remains.

I first went to Africa in 1960. I produced a supplement for the event of Nigeria’s Independence for The New York Times. I then produced a supplement for The Times on the event of South Africa’s Independence in 1961. Subsequently, I sold a cotton textile mill to The Nigerians. I was in my late twenties. I am now 77 and have a new idea for Africa.

The U.S. system of health care is a 19th Century anarchism. The picture of the country doctor paying a call upon his patient in a horse and buggy and carrying a black bag is quaint if not bizarre. This picture must change. Dr. is the only title of nobility in the U.S. To be a doctor is to be a member of the nobility, as well as the plutocracy if not the monarchy. Laws are passed to protect the Physician and guarantee his income. We must form a self-sustaining cadre of medical technicians who will go into the streets and perform diagnostic tests and communicate patient symptoms via the Internet and prescribe affordable remedies. The vast majorities of the world can not afford U.S. style health care.

Health Care is the only business in the U.S, which bills you AFTER the event. Health Care Insurance only raises cost of medical care and is a boon to the doctors but a barrier to life and the pursuit of happiness for a citizen.

Sick of the world, unite There is a great cadre of persons ready, willing, and able to help the sick and malnourished.

Imagine a woman in Chad, trained to administrate a blood pressure machine, an item that costs $10. She sets up a table and chair in Ndjamena at the local Internet cafe She charges $1. And the results are sent via the internet for analysis and proscription. All parties benefit. First, if it is determine that the patient has a problem the available remedies are proscribed, and the drug company sells its product, the women makes a small profit, The same procedure can be done for diabetes, malaria, HIV, pregnancy, parasitic infections, and STPs.

Today the Digital Doctor Diagnosis is a reality. A digital microscope, computer, blood pressure machine, glucose meter and we can examine and diagnose millions of patients at minimum costs.

Financial, ethical and regulatory hurdles abound in the U.S. that would blockade such a plan. But in third world nations such a program is possible. Pioneers had to build their own houses as there was a clear shortage of contractors in 18th century America. Imagine if they had to obtain a building permit from the Indians?

Technology enables us to use intelligent local persons to diagnose common diseases and the internet permits us to proscribe cures. Give the doctor a hand.

Compassion need not be constrained.

Benjamin Schwartz
1-845 6934581

Dear sir/Madam
I will like to know the contact and address of this foundation.More importantly I will like to know if you have a branch in Ghana.Thank you .
George.

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