How can I frame the topic of microfinance for a research project?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Microfinance is a growing field in the financial market, and this growth can help you identify a way to frame microfinance for a research project. Some ideas for research are:

  • microfinance and the UN Millennium Development Goals.
  • microfinance and financial inclusion.
  • microfinance operated by nationals.
  • microfinance and sustainability.
  • individual stories of microfinance projects.

Microfinance is lending small amounts of money to individuals in low development and least developed countries for the start-up of profitable businesses. It is defined by Opportunity International as a "sustainable means of poverty alleviation" that leads to "holistic development."

Millennium Goal 8 calls for the development of "nondiscriminatory trading and financial system." Small microloans, most not exceeding 100USD, are a step toward reaching this goal. Financial microcredit and the concept of financial inclusion have grown up out of the goal of a nondiscriminatory financial system. Financial inclusion extends multiple financial services to those who receive microfinancing, services such as microinsurance and branchless banking. The aim of inclusion is to incorporate a bankless "informal economy" into a formal one with a full range of microbanking services.

You might explore the interrelationship between small businesses funded by microloans and ecological sustainability in terms of carbon footprint and ecosystem integrity. Microfinance services are sometimes operated by nationals of the countries benefiting from microloans, such as Opportunity International. What effect does this have on the expanse and success of microfinancing? You might explore asking for an interview and for details on some individual microfinancing success stories.