UMW-Based Group to Launch Month of Microfinance in April

The 2012 Month of Microfinance, based at the University of Mary Washington, will make its national debut this April at dozens of college campuses across the country.

The Month of Microfinance, a coalition of student-led and student-focused organizations dedicated to microfinance, is led by the founders of TDC and includes seven collegiate microfinance clubs: La Ceiba, MFI Connect, Campus MFI, Penn Microfinance, The Phoenix Fund and High School Kiva. With 42 partners, including, Kiva, Opportunity International, Accion USA, BRAC USA and Grameen America, the national movement is growing.

During April, students at participating colleges, universities and high schools will host and participate in campus events related to microfinance for increased awareness and fundraising. Each student-hosted event will focus on the definition of microfinance, the groups that benefit from microfinance and the relationship between client-centered and profit driven microfinance.

“I think it is fair to say that a significant number of microfinance practitioners are asking themselves some tough questions today: Are we value-driven or profit-driven? Are we a movement or an industry?” said Shawn Humphrey, associate professor of economics at the University of Mary Washington and founder of TDC. “By claiming the month of April for microfinance clients around the world, the student microfinance movement will bring attention to the importance of client-centered microfinance. In this approach, the well-being of the clients of microfinance is paramount.”

The Month of Microfinance will connect microfinance in the professional world with microfinance in the academic world through student-led events such as professional guest speakers, documentaries and efforts to fundraise for microfinance institutions. Students also will generate discussions between themselves and their community by hosting microfinance discussion groups, writing letters to local community newspapers and making information about microfinance available to other students.

“Established institutions and start-up clubs have a lot to learn from each other, and the Month of Microfinance is a way to both raise awareness and support valuable networking,” said senior Sarah Alvarez.

The Month of Microfinance has three main objectives. First, through its partnerships with local microfinance professional organizations, it will provide valuable educational opportunities for students and their communities and prepare students to become the next generation of microfinance practitioners. Secondly, the month will raise awareness and funds for domestic and global microfinance. Finally, the effort seeks to unite the student microfinance movement in a coordinated and shared event.

“The Month of Microfinance provides an exciting opportunity for students to learn more about microfinance and to network with professional non-governmental organizations,” said senior Jessica Jefferson. “I hope the events and activism associated with the Month of Microfinance will promote the empowerment of students to make a difference in the larger world community.”

For more information, visit and or contact Shawn Humphrey at (540) 654-1487.


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News release prepared by: Brynn Boyer                     

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.


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