Targeting poor women as the best way to reach poor children.

  • Develop credit programs for poor women with effective, informal lending practices including small, short-term loans increasing gradually in size; quick, simple, application; and management of nonpayment risk with group guarantee, savings and possibility of repeat loans.

  • Provide services for the poor where they are -- In their communities and with economic activities they know -- but improve productivity, profitability and working conditions.

  • Improve women's status by organizing women's support groups outside the home.

  • Help women fit their economic activities flexibly into roles of parenting and other household responsibilities.

  • Know and build on what works. The ability to grow and replicate depends on clear, well-defined and comprehensive models.

  • Balance community participation with technical and financial soundness by being sure that borrowers are able to absorb credit funds for purposes intended, have the capacity and -- discipline to repay and save and the skills and responsibility to manage well.

  • Strive for financial sustainability. For programs this is done by increasing scale to spread costs among many, charging fees, and being rigorous about recovering and rotating assets.

  • Avoid causing a significant increase in the unpaid workload of children, school dropout, and a decrease in time for play and rest.

  • Offer adolescents economic education and starter systems for livelihood.

  • Integrate financil services with other benefits such as literacy, health education, sanitation and environmental conservation, etc. as long as the amount of cost of the other services are controlled to be largely cost recoverable.

  • Monitor and verify impact. For poverty lending and other income projects, confirm that income is increasing and a portion of it Is distributed within households in ways that benefit children.

Credit Lines. Plan International. June 1995. Number Two.

Hari Srinivas -
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