April showers bring more than May flowers in the world of microfinance. Shawn Humphrey, an Economics professor from the University of Mary Washington, has started the Student Microfinance Movement, designating April as the Month of Microfinance, and with it comes a showering of educational events and fundraisers. The Month of Mifi raises awareness and support for both domestic and global microfinance, and unites and prepares students to become the next generation of microfinance practitioners.
Throughout April, microfinance organizations and student finance groups are urged to host Month of Mifi events and the general public is invited to many of the events that raise awareness and support for the Student Microfinance Movement. There are contests, challenges, book clubs, movie screenings, conferences, roundtable discussions, benefits and social media campaigns. There is even an event at the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill in Boston titled “MicroBrews for MicroLoans,” which sounds awfully fun to me if only I wasn’t gluten-free! But don’t fret; there are plenty of ways to get involved even if you’re intolerant to beer like me. There are many colleges and universities hosting events for the Month of Mifi. College and Universities hosting To Catch A Dollar events include American University, Duke University, Drake University, and Tufts University. In addition, many student groups and organizations are hosting $2 a Day Challenges–where students pledge to live on $2 a day for one week to raise money and awareness for microfinance. It’s definitely a challenge to live off of $2 a day when you think about how much gas, water, food, medicine and other necessities cost these days. Elon University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and University of Mary Washington are all hosting $2 A Day events this April. Another way that you can participate in the Month of Microfinance is to watch or host a movie screening of Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus. Trust me when I say Bonsai People has no relation to Bonsai kitties. CAUTION: there are no people being grown in glass jars. Instead, it is the story of Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner, father of modern microcredit, and the founder of Grameen Bank.
I urge you to try to attend a Month of Mifi event in your area or start one of your own! To see a full list of events and to learn more about how you can participate visit monthofmicrofinance.org.
At Opportunity International, we’re a partner in the Student Microfinance Movement, and we are spreading the word about the Month of Microfinance through social media outlets. We also submitted our video “Young Ambassadors for Opportunity Tanzania” to the Month of Mifi Video Contest.
Young Ambassadors for Opportunity Tanzania:
Opportunity International is proud to be a resource for students and for the Month of Microfinance student movement. In partnering with the Month of Microfinance, we have supported students by giving them the educational opportunity to learn about our clients, endeavors, and what microfinance means to us. We are spreading the word about microfinance one student at a time. In staying up to date with modern learning trends, we even provided a list of our favorite microfinance blogs, which is featured on the Month of Mifi website. Most importantly, however, is the sharing of opportunity. We provided a list of internship opportunities to students participating in the Month of Mifi.
It is important to empower the next generation of microfinance practitioners, and Opportunity International does so through their internships. I am currently a marketing intern in Opportunity International. Everyone has been very nice, welcoming, and eager to help me with my assignments. I want my work endeavors to mean something and inspire change for good, and interning at Opportunity International has shown me that I want to work for a nonprofit at some point in my career.
April is the key to a brighter future for many students because of the Month of Microfinance. Scientist Liberty Hyde Bailey once said, “A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expanded effort on them.” And the Month of Microfinance will prove that April showers bring more than May flowers in the world of microfinance.
This post was written by Kate Meyer. Kate is a marketing intern in Opportunity International’s Resource Development department. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts concentrating in graphic design from Illinois Wesleyan University.