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Rotary willing to promote microcredit groups

Posted by Página do Microcrédito em 13 dezembro, 2007

CHENNAI: Rotary International Foundation will be glad to provide matching and 3H grants to its clubs willing to start microcredit groups, Rotary International president Wilfrid Wilkinson said here on Wednesday.

The goals of Rotary International and microcredit went hand in hand. It was possible for Rotary Clubs to easily incorporate a microcredit programme into the work they were already implementing, Mr.Wilkinson said. He said he was particularly proud of the work Rotarians had been doing in India in the attempt to eradicate poverty.

Mr. Wilkinson emphasised the need for members of a self-help group to stay together to make the project a success.

He was speaking at the Rotary International Presidential Conference on Micro Credit 2007, attended by members of Rotary Clubs, Rotaract and Inner Wheel members and over 1,500 women belonging to self-help groups.

Describing microcredit as the process of allocating small loans to poor entrepreneurs, Mr.Wilkinson said it would help people rise out of debt and become self-sufficient. It also gave dignity to people who hadno means of support. He said the repayment rates were high, as his experience with credit unions and microfinance had demonstrated. The default rate was less than one per cent.

If implemented properly it would work well as it had for Nobel laureate Muhammed Yunus and his Grameen Bank. Rotary’s highest award was given to Yunus as early as in 1999, he said. Mr. Younus’ collaborator in the Grameen initiative Khalid Shams, who was former deputy managing director of Grameen Bank and now heads Grameen Telecom, said the success of Grameen could be replicated in India as well.

Explaining the structure of the bank and its lending system, he said there were three essential elements that governed lending: a receiving system that organised the target clientele, credit delivery and generation of new income and the socio-economic development that ensued from this development.

The bank had now moved on to offer a diversified loan portfolio, and apart from the basic loan, there were flexible loans, housing loans, microentreprise loans and even educational loans. The savings generated through microcredit were sufficient to sustain Grameen’s lending programme. Women were the torchbearers of the microfinance revolution, because they were the ones who focussed on the future – sending their children to school and ensuring a better quality of life for them.

Industrialist Krishnaraj Vanavarayar said it was a permanent coalition between Rotary and their various partners in the effort to eradicate poverty. He said it would be the beginning of a big change in the country and it would bring women to the fore. He urged the women to develop marketing and leadership skills in addition to focussing on just starting an enterprise.

Ashok Mahajan, Rotary International director, said eradicating poverty was Rotary’s business. This particular project aimed at bringing together people who were resolved to remove poverty.

A.S.Venkatesh, Governor of Rotary International District 3230, the hosts of the conference, said Rotary hoped to bring about social change in partnership with self-help group women.

Source: http://www.hindu.com

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