UMW Students Lead Global Microfinance Movement

More than 85 global microfinance partners have joined the University of Mary Washington in the Month of Microfinance. Throughout the month of April, students at UMW and other participating colleges, universities and high schools will host and participate in campus events related to providing financial services to low-income people who would otherwise be unable to get assistance.

The Two Dollar Challenge, part of the Month of Microfinance, raises awareness and funds for poverty-related causes.

A grassroots movement founded at UMW, the Month of Microfinance (MoMF) is in its second year. This year, dozens of international partners are supporting MoMF, including Kiva, Whole Foods Market’s Whole Planet Foundation and Accion. The program highlights local and global events with the goal of providing a value-driven and positive impact for clients. MoMF facilitates connections between students and the microfinance community through conversation and learning. Muhammad Yunus, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, advocated for microfinance principles in a recent video.

“Many of the poor don’t have access to financial services and we’re really trying to change that,” said Laura Dick, a senior anthropology and economics major and member of the MoMF executive board.

As a part of MoMF, a group of UMW students will participate in the Two Dollar Challenge from April 8 through 13. The Two Dollar Challenge, founded by Associate Professor of Economics Shawn Humphrey in 2007, is designed to raise funds and awareness for poverty-related causes. The Two Dollar Challenge also will occur at other campus communities across the country. Funds raised during the Two Dollar Challenge will go towards La Ceiba, a UMW-based collegiate microfinance institution founded by Humphrey that provides financial, social and educational support to communities in El Progreso, Honduras.

“We’re passionate about what we’re doing” said Dick. “We really believe that it’s not just our intentions that matter, but the effects of our actions.”

For more information about MoMF and a full schedule of events, visit http://monthofmicrofinance.org/.