Where can one go to learn more about microfinance? Is there enough capacity (trained staff and managers) to cope with the explosive growth of the microfinance industry? Of course there is no limit (only one's own time) as to how much one can learn through the internet (ie CGAP, mixmarket, microfinance gateway or the UNDP Microfinance Distance Learning Program) but, there are also an increasing number of institutions that offer training programs around the world.
For programs/courses: Boulder Institute of Microfinance(creating a platform for dialogue and critical thinking in microfinance), Microfinance Center (programs for practitioners in Eastern and Central Europe), School of Applied Microfinance (provides 2 week training courses for MFIs in East Africa), Harvard Business School & Accion Program on Strategic Leadership for Microfinance (executive education for directors of MFIs), and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management which runs the Micro Banking Summer Academy. One excellent institution, Microfinance Management Institute (MFMI) is building a community to foster development of human resources for the microfinance industry through the creation of learning tools and programs. They also provide courses for funders as well as integrating microfinance courses into the curricula of premier graduate management programs in developing countries.
If one's interest is to get familiar with microfinance by going to the field there are many microfinance institutions that provide visitors programs. I have visited 2 of these which were excellent. BRI in Indonesia and BRAC in Bangladesh.
For international conferences the easiest way to see these are on the website of the microcapital, the top newsletter of microfinance investments.
So don't wait if you want to learn more about microfinance get started now!
from the press release: BlueOrchard Finance SA
The 2007 BlueOrchard Loan for Development, BOLD 2, was elected “Sustainable Deal of the Year” on June 3, 2008, at the FT Sustainable Banking Awards Ceremony hosted by the Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group. The BOLD 2 transaction is a landmark deal that has helped to broaden microfinance as an asset class for mainstream investors, while simultaneously providing credit to tens of thousands of individual borrowers at more favourable terms.
BlueOrchard Finance S.A. of Geneva, Switzerland, and Morgan Stanley launched BOLD 2 at the end of April 2007. BOLD 2 is a Collateralised Loan Obligation (CLO) of unsecured loans amounting to USD 110.2 million, of which the equivalent to USD 106.7 million were lent to 21 microfinance institutions based in 11 emerging countries (Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Russia).
These funds were on-lent by the microfinance institutions (MFIs) to approximately 70,000 low-income people - over half of them women - for entrepreneurial activities.
Congratulations to both BlueOrchard and Morgan Stanley for mainstreaming microfinance and increasing the outreach of loans to the poor.