The core themes of the Microcredit Summit, specifically addressed in the Institutional Action Plan Summary include:
- serving the poorest in developing countries, defined as families in the bottom 50% of the population living below their country's poverty line, or serving the poor in industrialized countries, defined as families living below their country's poverty line.
- serving women
- developing financially sustainable microcredit institutions; and
- having a measurable impact on the lives of the clients and their families.
The Virtual Library on Microcredit (VLM) was formerly known as the 'Informal Credit Homepage'. Some of its strengths include:
"Microcredit" is more than just money. The VLM recognizes this by using information as the key resource. Some of the challenges that it faces in its activities include -
- The VLM uses internet as the primary means for dissemination. But internet services in developing countries (the VLM's target regions) are limited. How can information on microcredit issues be made available to a wider audience, including other advocates and practitioners?
- Catering to a women-focussed audience. How can information in the VLM be 'packaged' to be women-friendly? Women tend to access and utilize internet resources differently, and this has to be kept in mind.
- Collation and dissemination of information on a global/regional level. How can it be ensured that the information on the VLM is in-depth, usable and current?
Key strategies that the Virtual Library on Microcredit intends to use in addressing the above strategies include:
- Targeting networks: Microfinance networks at the local or national level (eg. The Philippines, Vietnam and India have such networks) need to be targeted for information collation and dissemination.
- Info Audit: Information contained in the VLM has to be regularly audited for its usefulness and currency. This has to be done in-house, as well as by an independent network of regional 'monitors so as to be able to compare, update, renew, and add to the contents of the VLM.
- Participation in meetings: Attendance in Seminars, conferences, congresses and summits in microfinance is critical to increase the user-base of VLM, and increase participation in its development.
- Collaboration with other information generators: This is necessary to create a network of information and to avoid overlap in coverage.
- Other media for dissemination: It may be necessary to use other media, including email, CD-ROMs, newsletters, digests etc. to disseminate information in the VLM, so that the user-base is widened.