I recently attended a Q & A session in London on career and training opportunities in microfinance led by the Microfinance Association (MA). Although MA seemed to push their Professional Certificate in Microfinance, a few interesting and useful bits of information did emerge. It would appear that MA is aiming to become a global professional body of and for microfinance practitioners as the industry expands. I think this is a very positive development which could facilitate better regulation and standardisation in the industry across countries.
Here follows a list of some of the companies and organisations that we talked about or was mentioned as worthwhile researching when looking for jobs and openings to apply for:
- VisionFund International - VisionFund works to improve the lives of children in the developing world by offering small loans and other financial services to people living in poverty. They work in Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & East Europe.
- Opportunity International - Providing access to sustainable financial services and training to allow people to unlock their own potential and work their own way out of poverty.
- BlueOrchard - Leading commercial microfinance investment company. Their mission is to empower the poor worldwide and to improve the quality of life by enabling the poor to participate in income generating activities.
- Women’s World Banking - Women only MFI working globally to empower poor women and their families.
- CGAP -An independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world’s poor. It is supported by over 30 development agencies and private foundations who share a common mission to alleviate poverty.
- Microfinance Gateway - A service of CGAP, the Microfinance Gateway is the most comprehensive online resource for the global community dedicated to advancing financial services for the poor.
- FINCA - Provider of financial services to the world’s lowest income entrepeneurs in 21 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
- Progression Capital - A private equity fund specializing in financial inclusion and adjacent sector investments in Eastern Africa.
- responsAbility - One of the world’s leading social investment companies. Areas of focus include microfinance, SME financing, fair trade and independent media.
- Triodos Bank - A bank that only lends to and invests in organisations that benefit people and the environment.
- Accion International - Private, non-profit organisation with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives.
- World Vision International - Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.
- Grameen Trust - Supports Grameen Bank type programs to reduce poverty.
- Microloan Foundation - Helping the poorest women in rural Africa to help themselves and their families out of poverty.
So, those are just some of the org’s we talked about and some of them have great internship opportunities whilst others have many experienced vacancies available.