As the world changes from an agrarian society to one where business and ingenuity reign supreme, microfinance programs have become a vital resource for families in developing nations. Many small companies in countries around the world are facing financial struggles, and microcredit loans are literally a life-saver for many, helping businesses survive and making an ethical impact on the way the world works. Microfinance volunteers will learn financial management basics, the global impacts of microcredit programs, and score valuable experience in the field of business, all while traveling abroad and making new personal, meaningful connections.
Why Volunteer Abroad
Nearly half of the world’s population lives in poverty, with children making up nearly one third of that group. Organizations that provide microcredit loans seek to help families in poverty become self-sufficient and able to provide for themselves and their children, long after the loan has been repaid.
Low-income families often lack the credit history or collateral needed to take out essential loans to increase their income or develop a sustainable livelihood. By volunteering abroad and assisting organizations that support microcredit programs, you will be taking a big step toward helping the world become a better place to live for thousands of families, while also helping individuals achieve their dreams.
Microfinance volunteer programs will give individuals the chance to learn the ins-and-outs of microfinancing on an international level, which means they will become more knowledgeable about international business practices and more open-minded and innovative when it comes to business development too. Microcredit volunteer opportunities will not only allow you to help locals learn how to develop a productive livelihood, it will also expose you to new business philosophies and experiences that will be useful in your career.
We no longer live in a world where hard work and passion are enough to make a business thrive. Therefore, microcredit programs and organizations that support microfinance initiatives seek to support small business development and the overall economic growth of specific cities or regions. Due to the recent popularity of microcredit programs and the positive results of small business loans, the microcredit industry has grown substantially in the past few decades, which means microfinance volunteers are welcomed in many countries around the world.
Microcredit loans first rose to popularity in Asia, so naturally, it’s a favored destination for microfinance volunteer programs. Volunteering in India, where money from private donors often helps local people establish or refurbish their farms to become profitable again, is an eye-opening experience. The Philippines and Cambodia are other popular destinations for microcredit volunteer programs, as they are countries where the large tourism industry often dwarfs small business attempts.
In Central America and South America, microcredit loan organizations operate mainly in subsets of larger cities, especially where significant slums exist. In these areas, microcredit volunteers work to come up with worthwhile projects to fund to help develop the local economy and employ the unemployed. Nicaragua is unfortunately home to large population of rural poor, which means there are many potential microfinancing opportunities worth exploring in rural areas, especially ones that support women.
There are many well-known organizations and ongoing microfinancing projects in Africa, such as the company that hires African women to make beads out of recyclables. More specifically, those who volunteer in Ghana will be exposed to creative people with big ideas about how to share art, music, and food with the world at large.
Microcredit Volunteer Opportunities
Your microfinance volunteer placement will differ depending on the organization you work with, your finance experience, and the location you choose. Volunteers, no matter their experience level, will likely have the opportunity to meet with and work with locals who will be the recipients of microcredit loans. Participating in microfinance volunteer programs will no doubt give volunteers the opportunity of a lifetime to step back from their own lives and gain a more accurate perspective of what poverty looks like in the real world.
Volunteers without experience in related fields will often be placed in internship-like roles, which will entail them observing supervisors actions as well as managing lower level tasks, such as paperwork or client or partner communications. In almost any type of microfinance volunteer program, volunteers will be able to see, first hand, the direct impact that microfinance loans have on local families and communities.
If you have a degree in business or finance and are interested in microcredit programs, your skills are in high demand abroad! Whether for a long or short period, it is possible for professionals in the field to manage their own projects, oversee the loan transactions, and track the progress or success of microfinance programs as well as develop future financial plans.
Make an Impact. For millions around the world, microcredit loans are an incredible opportunity to get out of poverty and develop a sustainable livelihood for their families. Each loan you help with will make an impact on the life of someone in your host country, which makes microcredit volunteer opportunities all the more rewarding.
Personal Perspective. While in school or working domestically, it’s easy to forget that money in the Western world is viewed very differently than in other countries. Half of the world lives on less than $2.50 a day, and volunteering abroad is the most emotionally gripping way to gain perspective on what money means to people dealing with poverty daily.
First-hand Finance. Microcredit programs are often praised as having the potential to end poverty, by allowing people to become self-sufficient. Hearing this and seeing this are two very different things. It is truly impressive to see the change a small amount of loaned money can make on a business, a farm, a family, or even an entire community.