Freedom from Hunger’s Microfinance and Health Protection Continues to Help World’s Poor

The positive impact of value-added microfinance is undeniable—and finally the real potential of microfinance is beginning to be embraced around the world.
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Feb. 10, 2011 - PRLog -- Freedom from Hunger completed a four-year, $6 million project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, enabling the international nonprofit organization and five microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Africa, Asia and Latin America to collaborate on designing, testing, piloting and evaluating the impact of adding health protection services to their microfinance offerings.  As of June 2010, these products and services were reaching more than 3 million MFI clients and family members in five countries:  Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, India and the Philippines.

“Microfinance is succeeding at putting money into the hands of poor people but too often ill health causes them to slip down the ladder into poverty again,” said Chris Dunford, President of Freedom from Hunger.  “Our solution is to bring together the economic development and health sectors to develop practical and coordinated tools that have more power to create lasting change.”  The health programs included health savings, health loans, health insurance, health education, group discounts with health providers, mobile healthcare in rural villages, distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and more.  

Evidence shows that moving MFIs away from a credit-only model and providing a range of practical products and services improves health behaviors and access to health services, and gives clients a greater sense of financial security in case illness does strike.  The positive impact of value-added microfinance is undeniable—and finally the real potential of microfinance is beginning to be embraced around the world.  

Since this funded initiative concluded, our pioneering MFI partners have continued to replicate and scale up their programs to reach many more clients, families and communities.  Freedom from Hunger has disseminated findings, lessons learned and related technical tools and products, and has also identified new partners in Southeast Asia, India and Latin America that are now also adding health to their microfinance offerings.  

To learn more about the developments of adding health to microfinance, please visit Freedom from Hunger’s Microfinance and Health Protection Special Update at

A 12-minute video illustrating the success of this project, “Healthy Microfinance: Innovations in Microfinance and Health Services,” is available on YouTube at with captions available in English, Spanish and French.

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Freedom from Hunger is an international development organization that brings innovative and sustainable self-help solutions to combat chronic hunger and poverty. By training and collaborating with 112 local partner organizations, they provide value-added microfinance to groups of women. This leverage through collaboration allows their staff of fewer than 50 professionals to offer programs to more than 2.4 million women in 17 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Source:Freedom from Hunger
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Tags:Nonprofit, Hunger, Microfinance, Health, Poverty, International
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