BondMason is delighted to announce the start of the BondMason Foundation which will invest in micro-financing initiatives, because we believe strongly that such initiatives are key to reducing and ultimately alleviating poverty.
Traditional thinking dictates commerce and enterprise exist for purely financial returns whereas welfare and aid exist to promote positive social change. However in recent years, the role of enterprise in enabling developing communities to drive their own social and economic development is increasingly recognised. This has fuelled a huge growth in micro-financing initiatives that provide loans and finance to individuals who don’t have access to traditional banking systems. These loans provide individuals and communities with the opportunity to use entrepreneurial enterprise to change their lives.
We recognise that aid and welfare are critical in times of disaster or emergency, however they don’t provide a viable long term strategy to deal with poverty. In contrast, micro-financing initiatives offer the following benefits to the communities they serve.
A study over 8 years by the Global Development Research Centre on the poorest communities in Bangladesh, found that families and individuals with access to micro-finance were 10x more likely to rise above the poverty line; than those without access to micro-finance.
Micro-financing initiatives help to create sustainable economic growth, that is targeted to individual communities and the resources and opportunities available to them. It has been demonstrated that access to credit can lead to larger and more profitable businesses, these businesses are then able to employ others and have more income to spend within the local economy and build assets such as land and livestock. Therefore creating a virtuous circle effect, where the initial loan, will then feed on itself to stimulate economic development.
Once basic human needs have been met, esteem and self actualisation needs are fundamental to all humans. These refer to the need for independence, self respect and realising your full potential. Aid and charity can help fulfil basic human needs for food and water, however they don’t fulfil any of the higher needs such as esteem and self-actualisation.
Providing access to loans, allows individuals the means to create opportunities for themselves by engaging in income producing activities. This fosters a sense of independence, self respect and enables individuals to meet their full potential. Empowering individuals and their communities are essential pre-requisites for social and economic development and long term change.
Empowerment : a multi dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives. It is a process that fosters power in individuals, their communities and in their society by acting on issues that they define as important.(Source: Journal of Extension)
BondMason Foundation and Kiva
You can see BondMason's page on Kiva and our micro lending activity here: https://www.kiva.org/lender/bondmason
The BondMason Foundation has chosen Kiva to be its first micro-financing partner. Kiva works alongside ‘Field Partners’ who have extensive social performance strengths which seek to enhance the value of the initial loan. One example of this is ‘Entrepreneurial Support’which offers training and support to help individuals start, manage and grow their own businesses. Others include innovation, facilitation of savings and anti-poverty focus, all essential components of economic and social development.
The benefit of micro-financing initiatives such as Kiva, is that you see exactly where loans are going to and the impact they have. There is also thorough vetting and governance of the field ambassadors who are responsible for working with the loan beneficiaries.
Whereas aid addresses short term needs such as food and medical care, micro-financing looks to target the longer term issues that underpin and perpetuate poverty in a way that is relevant and targeted to the needs of each community.
Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva, gave an inspiring Ted Talk ‘Poverty, Money and Love’; which is well worth a watch.
Want to learn more? Come and see for yourself at Kiva.