Learning about and Engaging in Microfinance
(Summer 2009: Vol. 22, No. 2) By Angene Wilson
Students will be introduced to the concept of microfinance and examples, decide how to raise money for and choose a Kiva entrepreneur to support, and write a brief report on an article or website related to microfinance to educate others.
- Articles in the summer 2009 WorldView Magazine, available in its entirety online at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/worldview/summer09/#/0
- www.kiva.org website
- Charlie Rose PBS interview of Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/114)
Begin by asking if anyone has heard of Muhammad Yunus or ask someone to point out Bangladesh on a map and tell what they know about that nation. Ask if anyone can define microfinance. In other words, find out what students already know about topic.
For a visual introduction use perhaps 5 or 10 minutes of the Charlie Rose interview of Muhammad Yunus (it is available online and includes video as well as talking heads interview). Then use as handout or project “What is microfinance?” from WorldView to explain the concept and answer questions.
Show the kiva.org website, going to pictures of entrepreneurs so students can see people, what countries they are from, how much money they are requesting, and for what. Use “How Kiva works” from WorldView as handout or project. The teacher should read the WorldView articles “You Too Can be Bill Gates, Leveraging Technology, Kiva.org Takes Microfinance to the Next Level” and “Taking Peace Corps Back into the Field” for more background on Kiva.
As a class project, propose that the class decide to invest in an entrepreneur. Discuss how the class could raise money to invest – as little as $25 – and how students would choose an entrepreneur. Plan to follow the money and the entrepreneur through the school year and do a story for the school website or newspaper.
Follow-up or Extension Assignment:
Give students a choice of other WorldView articles and websites about microfinance for one page reports to turn on what more they learn about microfinance. These could be put on a bulletin board or wall outside the classroom for others to see with a heading: “What is Microfinance?”
- “Come for the Information, Stay for the Dancing;”
- “The Colombia Project;”
- “A Green Community Rising.”