Community-Based Microfinance for Financial Inclusion

This course is now full. You may be interested in attending this course in May 2014 at our Nova Scotia campus. Please click here for information.
March 24 - April 4, 2014
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Facilitator: Anuj Jain 

What you can expect

Discussions are shifting from providing microcredit and microfinance to achieving financial inclusion for all. Access to appropriate financial products and services is now accepted as being crucial for enabling everyone to have sustainable livelihoods for themselves and to participate more effectively in local economies. With an estimated 2.5 billion people remaining outside the formal financial system, community-based approaches to microfinance are proving to be effective for contributing to financial inclusion goals and reaching those who are currently not served by banks or other financial institutions. These approaches not only provide access to financial services at doorstep, but they also build community institutions, strengthening solidarity and social capital. Community-based approaches to microfinance are particularly useful in remote areas and especially popular among women, though they have also proven successful in urban regions.

This certificate course aims to enhance knowledge of community-based microfinance models and approaches and build practical skills in applying them; the emphasis is placed on savings-led models such as village savings and loan associations (VSLAs), self-help groups (SHGs), caisses populaires, savings and credit cooperatives, credit unions, and other member-owned microfinance institutions from various parts of the world. These models build on individual and community savings and assets that support the local economies and form the basis for creating linkages with external financial institutions.

The course will discuss the latest developments and innovations in the field, such as the use of mobile phone banking; exploration of linkages with formal financial institutions and value-chain finance through in-depth case-studies; field visits; mutual learning among participants; and interaction with senior field practitioner guest faculty. The program balances practice and theory with the intention of strengthening the participants’ understanding of links between macro financial system and microfinance as well as providing them with practical program design and management tools.

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
  • Understanding the financial behaviour of low-income population groups to learn the principles of designing more appropriate financial products, especially savings, insurance, payment services, value-chain finance, and innovative models of community-based financing
  • 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
  • Learn about the regulations, structures, and practices for balancing flexibility and risk management in different community-based microfinance models
  • Explore real-world examples of establishing multi-tier institutions and networks, building linkages with private sector financial institutions, use of mobile banking, and opportunities and challenges of financial products delivered by 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 intensive exchange with peers

Organizational benefits

  • Develop strategies for strengthening program design, management, and product design capacities in community-based microfinance programming in remote rural areas and underserved urban communities
  • Develop strategies for banks, formal microfinance institutions, and various value-chain actors to reach informal savings groups and serve them effectively
  • Enhance capacity to analyze macro policies and identify research priorities to enable families operating in the informal sector to participate more meaningfully in the economy
  • Develop approaches to integrate community-based microfinance models into strategies for improving food security, building sustainable livelihoods, enhancing women’s empowerment, and attaining broad development outcomes

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.
  • Podcast: A feature interview recorded May 11, 2011 with Coady’s Anuj Jain and C.S. Reddy of APMAS, India (recorded on May 11, 2011). Where is microfinance headed in 2011 and beyond? Why the controversy over commercial microfinance? How is microfinance by member-based organizations different?


Total fees are $1,900 CAD.  This covers tuition only.  Participants are responsible for their own accommodations, meals and visa.


Specific scholarships are available through The MasterCard Foundation's Microfinance Scholar's Program. Women applicants are particularly encouraged to apply.


The program will be held at Women in Self Employment (WISE) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Click here for Guesthouse and Hotel location options.

How to Apply

Applicants should apply as soon as possible. Applications are assessed as soon as they are received so apply early to ensure time for making travel and visa arrangements.

This course is also offered at the Coady International Institute in Antigonish, NS

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