The Rural Finance Learning CentreAs a follow-on to yesterday's post, I'd like to call attention to the excellent training for microfinance organizations that is available at the Rural Finance Learning Centre. RFLC is
a web site hosted and managed by the rural finance specialists in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The RFLC is currently funded by FAO, GTZ [Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit], IFAD [International Fund for Agricultural Development] and World Bank as part of a project called "Improving Capacity Building in Rural Finance" (CABFIN). The project objective is to encourage wider access to the extensive resources which are available for capacity building and training in rural finance.RFLC, publicly available since 2004, has collected and organized, by type and topic, a wealth of learning resources 1,804 "knowledge objects" as of today. Visitors can navigate the site in English, Spanish, French, and Russian.
I've browsed through all the sections of the site and would encourage anyone with an interest in learning about microfinance to do the same. As examples of what's available I'd cite two of the online lessons RFLC has posted. The entire set of lessons is divided into four sections:
1. Basic concepts
1.1 New paradigm rural finance - what is it?
1.2 Microfinance - the hope and the hype
1.3 The importance of savings
1.4 Financial service providers and the law
1.5 Commercial banks and microfinance
2. Understanding client enterprises
2.1 The financial reality of enterprise
2.2 Collecting and analysing financial information from enterprises
2.3 Rates of return and the cost of money
3. Managing financial services
3.1 Understanding the accounts of financial service providers
3.2 Moving towards self-sufficiency subsidies and profitability planning
3.3 Avoiding the "downside" of microfinance
3.4 Managing arrears and defaults
4. Choosing strategies
4.1 Using and promoting groups
4.2 Taking gender into account
4.3 Adopting a client-driven approach
The lessons I reviewed were 3.2 Moving towards self-sufficiency subsidies and profitability planning, and 3.3 Avoiding the "downside" of microfinance. Both were exemplary in their use of accessible, colloquial language; incorporation of interactivity in a way that encourages active learning (snd without resorting to extraneous bells and whistles); and solid grounding in the practical aspects of microfinance.