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Understanding Microfinance Workshop Series: Interest rates, how are they determined and why are they so high?
Category: Microcredit | By Editor, 26-Aug-2013 | Viewed 3655  Comments 0

Understanding Microfinance

Microfinance has been praised as one of the most powerful tools to alleviate poverty. It is widely supported by Canadians with many investing in organizations such as Kiva, Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus' Grameen Foundation and other microfinance institutions (MFIs). There is, however, a disconnect between the practices of microfinance institutions and its supporters. Many express outrage when they hear of low-income families paying interest rates as high as 30, 60% or 100%, the increase of suicides in India related to microfinance loans and/or read about marginal impacts. This series of workshops aims to help people better understand microfinance by exploring its inner workings.

What will I learn at the workshop?

This workshop provides an overview of how MFIs determine how much to charge for the loans and how much interest they pay when their clients have savings. Participants will learn exactly how microfinance institutions establish interest rates for their loans and will also gain an appreciation of the relationship between interest rates and microfinance approaches such as the group lending model. 


Saturday October 26th
9:00 am to 12:00 pm


224 13th Avenue SW,
T2R-0K2, Calgary, Alberta


The workshop cost is $35 for
adults and $25 for students.

For more information or to
register please email
or contact
Christoph Schultz at

Registration is limited to 20 participants.
The workshop will also examine some trends in credit pricing such as the “interest free” loan being piloted in Bangladesh and Kenya. Workshop participants will walk away better informed about interest rates in general and why MFIs charge much higher rates than other banks.

Why should I attend?

Whether you are intrigued by the idea of microfinance, invest in organizations such as Kiva and/or have a basic understanding of the field and want to learn more, this workshop is for you. The workshop begins with an introduction to microfinance; no previous background in is required.

Who facilitates the workshop?

The workshop is facilitated by Christoph Schultz, MSc. BComm. Christoph currently works as the Program Director with Light Up The World (LUTW) and has more than 10 years of experience in international development. He has worked for and with microfinance institutions in locations such as Bangladesh (SafeSave), China (PlaNet Finance) and Guatemala (IMDI local microcredit association). Christoph has a Master's in Development Economics and Public Policy from the University of Manchester and a Bachelor's of Commerce with a Major in Finance from the University of Calgary.
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