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Microcredit
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Calgary Microcredit Conference 2010
Category: Microcredit | By SteveR, 4-Oct-2010 | Viewed 1276  Comments 0 | Original Source

2010 Conference Followup



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The Calgary Microcredit Conference concluded Saturday 11 Sept 2010 with a powerful presentation by Matt Flannery cofounder of the KIVA Foundation. Matt calmly, even modestly declared that through his unique poverty entrepreneurship investing model more than $80 million will be donated in 2010 and by 2015 donations are expected to amount to a whopping One Billion Dollars. All this came about from a person with a tenacity to see a change in the world and a vision that had no limits. Matt said the secret, aside from his stick-to-itiveness and creativity was having the luck of preparedness meeting opportunity - the internet and microcredit were simultaneously arising. 

Another crowd pleasing presentation by Joyce Brotherton-Lehman from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reinforced the Foundation's core belief that everyone is of equal value. Joyce shared the facts and figures used by the Foundation to determine the most practical financial tools needed to allow the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. Promoting "savings led organizations" is a prime area of growth for the Gates Foundation. Joyce pointed out that segmenting the 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 per day allows for the detection of what is most needed. The majority of people without financial tools lack access to banking for tiny amounts of money that seem insignificant ($1.00) by the standards of the developed world. In a world where one needs a buck to make a buck, savings are not only essential, they provide a local resource pool for individual loans and larger scale projects. Gates is supporting organizations that find cost efficient ways to bring banking services to the world's billions of marginalized entrepreneurs. 

Amanda Lindhout was interviewed by journalist and author Susan McLelland. When Amanda spoke there was a stilled hush in the room. After 15 months of captivity in Somalia, Amanda has committed her resources to speaking about and supporting the very Somali Society that gave rise to her captivity. Amanda said her goal is to avoid future incidents by empowering the Somali women. Her story of a near escape to a mosque and the single female voice that stood up for her as she was dragged back to captivity stirred everyone listening. While much was left unsaid about abusive treatment Amanda said she emerged more or less intact thanks to a deep faith, where she practiced forgiveness, and compassion for her captors. The standing ovation Amanda received acknowledged her courage and determination. 

A unique session was a panel of five couples. These husband and wife teams had on average 30 years of working together through careers, children and personal traumas in their contribution to making the world a better place. Probative questions by a skilled moderator team kept the audience stimulated through the use of artful questions. The panel was interviewed by Jennifer Dundas and Dr. Bob Dickson. Panelists were Michael and Judy Bopp from Four Worlds, Richard Marney & Lynne Exton from Opportunity International Network, Bev & Paul Carrick from CAUSE Canada, Bob & Marlene Wiens from the Canadian Association for Participatory Development and Steve & Marie Rickard representing the Rotarian Action Group for Microcredit. As a general conclusion, the depth of the love and commitment in the relationship formed a type of bed rock. This enabled the couples to withstand the pounding waves of change - change that was sure to occur every time the course was altered. But with the realignment came a better grasp on the goals and outcomes of their respective organizations. 

Everyday technical details were brought out by speakers like Keith Weaver of MicroEnsure. The fourfold hazard of death, sickness, disability and crop failures visit the poor with the most traumatic impact. Developing an insurance benefit's delivery system that is accurate and timely with appropriate micro amounts has been their challenge. Having reached more than one million clients MicroEnsure can be proclaimed to be impacting positively the lives of people without financial tools. The challenge for MicroEnsure is to reach ever larger numbers of clients. 

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MEDIC Canada, Foundation For Women - Liberia, UEnd:Poverty CAUSE Canada and Opportunity International were among the lead conference sponsorships. UEnd:Poverty is a web based donation system that can be used to support a number of poverty alleviation scenarios including microcredit. The Foundation For Women - Liberia which will be the recipient of the proceeds of the Calgary Microcredit Conference can be reached through www.foundationforwomen.org and UEnd:Poverty is available at www.uend.org

In total more than 15 presenters shared their beliefs and their passion that micorcredit plus financial services for people without financial tools, is giving rise to the single largest anti - poverty tool known to mankind. In pursuit of educating and involving the attendees in this world transforming technology the Calgary Microcredit Conference could only be declared an outstanding success. 

"Many people in developing countries do not need a hand out, they need a hand up. Micro-credit is a way of providing that hand up, and means of restoring dignity among those impoverished looking for a way up. I hope you have a great conference."
- Rotary District 5360 Governor 2010 - 2011, Al Bergsma

All profits from the Calgary Microcredit Conference, and any donations will go to the Foundation for Women - Liberia. We will provide income tax receipts for any donations through MEDIC Canada.
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