George Conard is the Executive Director of Technology for Microfinance at Grameen Foundation
Over the past decade, technology has played a key role in Grameen Foundation’s mission to alleviate poverty. From equipping microfinance institutions with the capacity to manage technology to building and delivering industry-wide solutions like our Mifos software platform, our goal is to advance the use of technology across the microfinance industry. The driving force is our Technology for Microfinance Initiative which seeks to transform technology from a barrier into an accelerator for the growth and impact of microfinance.
Today, I’m happy to announce our collaboration with Microsoft, a demonstrated leader in helping NGOs worldwide use technology more effectively to support their work. Together, we have convened the Microfinance Leadership Summit, a series of education and mentorship forums geared towards helping microfinance executives invest more strategically in technology and managing it more effectively. The first in the series launched today in the Philippines and we will expand it to other countries over the coming year.
Technology use among MFIs has grown significantly over the past five years, but, we believe that its impact can be accelerated by making more strategic investments. Grameen Foundation stands committed to doing that in two ways:
- An open approach that promotes transparency, access, knowledge transfer, and innovation.
- A focus on investing in flexible solutions, effective technology management capacity, and measurable social and business results.
Through this open approach to technology investment, we can unite the entire industry including MFIs, industry stakeholders, funders, and technology providers behind a common vision that technology is a critical enabler for the effectiveness of microfinance.
Aligning with influential global technology leaders like Microsoft is a fundamental component of creating a sustainable ecosystem of microfinance practitioners and technology providers that can enable microfinance to continue to grow and provide more vital services to the world’s poor. This inaugural summit will be a critical stepping off point in helping us build out replicable models to transfer knowledge and empower microfinance executives with the practical skills to use technology effectively.
With the Philippines as a proving ground for this working ecosystem advancing technology-enabled microfinance, we look forward to working with Microsoft to extend the Microfinance Leadership Summit to other burgeoning regions that are undergoing transformation through technology.