Although 2010 was a year of unprecedented growth in microfinance, it was also a year of considerable introspection as the industry grappled with questions of profitability, transparency and impact. While some of these questions were overdue, they prompted many to re-examine their beliefs about how microfinance can and should adapt and reform. It also forced the realization that the close knowledge of our clients’ lives and financial needs—traditionally a hallmark of microfinance—may have become secondary
to the push for greater numbers of clients.
Women’s World Banking welcomed a discussion of its commitment to an unwavering focus on women clients and their financial needs. In fact, we had asked many of these same questions of ourselves in 2007, while formulating a three-year strategic plan for 2008-10. It was less than 12 months after Dr. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank
were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a time of excitement and enthusiasm. In retrospect our discussions on the three-year plan may seem prescient, but we chose to embrace our central mission of providing women clients with access to financial products and services as an important step along the path out of poverty. As we embark on our next three-year
strategic plan, we are proud to celebrate our achievements,which include:
• All WWB network members signing a pledge to provide socially responsible, transparent, client-centered microfinance products and services. This includes our five new members and eight retail banks, expanding into four countries in some of the most underserved regions.
• Assisting network members in providing a full suite of financial products, including microinsurance and savings—especially savings for girls.
• Working to build principled, visionary leadership industry-wide by launching the Center for Microfinance Leadership.
Throughout this document we will show you how we delivered on our targets and how we intend to
build on those achievements during the next three years and beyond. Our conviction remains one of
providing women clients with an array of products, and the financial education to understand them, as
the best way to ensure that microfinance builds on its earliest ideals and promise.
Mary Ellen Iskenderian
President and CEO, Women’s World BankingDownload the English Version