Microfinance and finacial inclusion programs have become central to both international aid and local community development programs for a number of decades.
Featuring two international experts from the sector, Dr Philip Mader (IDS, Sussex University) and Sophie Romana (Oxfam America), Anthropology @ Monash presents this open seminar, seeking to start a dialogue on how these activities hope to affect various dimensions of poverty, and the economic and social empowerment of the poor.
The seminar aims to engage academics, students and practitioners in policy-relevant debate over the efficacy and effectiveness of microfinance and finacial inclusion programs.
Dr Philip Mader is a research fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) in the UK, where he also convenes a Masters degree in Globalisation, Business and Development. His 2015 book The Political Economy of Microfinance: Financializing Poverty traces the evolution of microfinance from a civil society initiative to a financial industry, examining the workings of the modern global microfinance sector, and the crises it has produced.
Sophie Romana joined Oxfam America in August 2011 to lead its Saving for Change (SfC) program. She merges social justice and financial innovation to lead a community finance initiative that increases resilience and financial assets. Working with 680,000 members in rural villages throughout 13 countries, SfC trains groups of women to save regularly, borrow from their group’s fund, and repay loans with interest.
This seminar aligns with a two-day policy and practice-focused academic workshop on the topic of women’s empowerment and microfinance, taking place in Melbourne on 13-14 November, 2017. The RDI Network is pleased to be a supporting partner for this workshop, and looks forward to sharing the workshop outputs following the event.