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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Looking Forward to Microfinance 2010 in San Francisco Next Week!

I am so thrilled that this conference is taking place in San Francisco, and can already imagine that this event will be an invaluable learning experience for all attendees.

While on a personal level, I am excited that the conference is taking place in my home town, I am also glad that a conference such as this one is happening in San Francisco because New York and Washington D.C. have generally been the American centers of the international development world. San Francisco is often overlooked in the international development world as an important hub, when in fact, our city is filled with innovative non-profits, passionate entrepreneurs and dedicated activists.

Having worked recently with The Samburu Project and currently with Under the Baobab Tree, two development non-profit organizations, I am excited to explore further in depth the realm of micro-finance, and to learn about how people and organizations like the ones I have worked with can use this tool to expand their scope of work in developing countries around the world. While micro-finance and micro-loans are clearly not a panacea for world poverty, the expansion of this practice in recent years has been interesting to watch as more and more organizations are using micro-lending as an important tool to help their projects and organizations grow, as well as to help many people around the world.

The Kiva Lender-Borrower Meetup particularly interests me. Over the course of my studies at UCLA and beyond, Kiva has arisen time and time again as a micro-finance case study, and I am interested to learn more about the inner workings of Kiva’s microfinance program, and to interface and discuss with people who have had hands on experience with their program.

Additionally, I anticipate that the discussions and information shared at the Leveraging Partnerships to Reach Millions session will be invaluable information to walk away with. I am eager to learn about the advancement of public-private partnerships and about how non-profits as well as government agencies have been using such partnerships to expand and enhance their projects.

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