Community-Based Microfinance for Financial Inclusion

May 8 - May 25, 2017, Antigonish campus, Nova Scotia

The call for applications for the 2017 program is now closed. Check back in May for our 2018 offerings.

Microfinance means different things to different people. Community based microfinance models, owned and governed by community members are critical for deeper financial inclusions. Models such as village savings and loans associations, self-help groups, financial cooperatives and credit unions not only provide financial services but also create community based ownership and collective empowerment. Participants will explore how these models support women’s empowerment, agriculture, livelihoods, value-chains and enterprises in rural and urban areas, and how innovating links with banks and mobile payment systems can reach millions that are outside formal banking system.

Scholarships are available through The MasterCard Foundation Microfinance Scholars Program for this certificate.

Personal benefits

  • Understand the role of financial services in inclusive economy and the role of community-based microfinance institutions in enhancing financial inclusion and linking those institutions with formal financial institutions
  • Understand the financial behaviour of low-income population groups to learn the principles of designing financial literacy components as well as design appropriate financial products such as savings, insurance, payment services, and value-chain finance.
  • Obtain an in-depth understanding of different community-based microfinance models such as village savings and loan associations (or savings groups), self-help groups, SACCOs, and credit unions to learn about the ways in which different member-owned institutions apply cooperative principles to ensure the delivery of appropriate financial products
  • Explore real-world examples of establishing multi-tier institutions and networks, building linkages with banks and other financial institutions, use of mobile banking, and opportunities and challenges of structuring value-chain oriented finance products in community based models, agriculture coops
  • Learn about national regulatory policies and supervision structures for community-based microfinance models, and the importance of self-regulation
  • Gain valuable hands-on knowledge through visits to successful community-based microfinance institutions, interaction with leading sector practitioners, and peer learning with fellow participants

Organizational benefits

  • Develop strategies for strengthening program design, management, and product design capacities in community-based microfinance programming, both in rural and underserved urban communities
  • Develop strategies for banks, formal microfinance institutions, and various value-chain actors to reach informal savings groups and cooperatives
  • Enhance capacity to analyze operative environments and adopt program designs that enable families in the informal sector to access appropriate financial services and participate more effectively in the local economy
  • Develop approaches to integrate community-based microfinance models into diverse programs with food security, sustainable livelihoods, women’s empowerment, and other outcomes and goals

Who should take the program?

This program is intended for mid-to-senior-level practitioners from NGOs, financial cooperatives, rural finance institutions, and MFIs; for bankers interested in serving rural regions; and also for regulators and government officials, trainers, and donors engaged in financial inclusion agenda. Two years’ work experience in microfinance or in the field of economic development is desirable. 

Podcast: Hear an audio interview with Anuj Jain,facilitator of Coady’s Community-Based Microfinance certificate course, in which he discusses the benefits of this course and who is best suited to attend it.


Related programs offered at Coady


  Antigonish offering Ethiopia offering
Tuition 3,000 CAD $1,900 USD
Accommodation and meals 1,500 CAD -
Total 4,500 CAD $1,900 USD

Program costs are subject to change.

All successful applicants are responsible for the cost of travel.

Most qualified candidates receive a scholarship to assist with program costs. Please visit the scholarship page.


Download course description PDF