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Health and Microfinance Alliance Overview Many of the 1.29 billion people in the developing world who live on less than $1.25 a day are one illness away from losing everything. The relationship between ill health and poverty is inextricable, and for microfinance clients, sickness is often the main reason for failure to repay loans and the collapse of promising businesses. The poor in India carry a disproportionate burden of health care expenditures; an estimated 35 million Indians are growing more deeply impoverished each year because of out-ofpocket medical expenses. Since the mid-2000s, the Microcredit Summit Campaign and Freedom from Hunger have collaborated to promote the integration of microfinance and health protection services. This collaboration brings together a diverse and active set of influential actors from the microfinance, health, public, and private sectors. We have partnered with microfinance organizations to increase their capacity to integrate health education and other health services into their operations through trainings in Asia, Latin America, and Africa/MENA. The Campaign and Freedom from Hunger collaborate to support, document, and foster best practice, monitoring and evaluation, and innovation in the field in microfinance and health protection. Building on this collaboration, in 2011, the two organizations formed a global Alliance to leverage their technical expertise and communications platforms for the specific purpose of building support for and expanding the practice of integrating microfinance and health.

The Health and Microfinance Alliance The Alliance, established between the Microcredit Summit Campaign and Freedom from Hunger, provides access to an international team of microfinance, health, and development practitioners, researchers and policy-makers working with microfinance organizations around the world to implement and test innovative approaches to address poverty. Independently and collaboratively, the two organizations are working with numerous institutions in India (see implementing partners), and in other countries to help these institutions add health protection to the range of services they provide to clients. These services include: • • •

Health education on prevention of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and on basic nutrition and treatments for childhood illnesses; Linkages to health care providers and products; and Health financing such as health loans, health savings, and health microinsurance.

Using India as a demonstration of what can be achieved globally, the global Alliance is currently disseminating methodologies, tools, and products to build the capacity of 28 institutions serving India’s poor. By continuing to innovate, and aggressively replicate successful interventions, over the next 3 years the Alliance expects to: •

Reach 3.5 million microfinance clients in India with integrated microfinance and health protection services (MAHP) services that can improve health and financial security for themselves and their families and are sustainably delivered.

Engage a more diverse community of practitioners that includes many more influential actors from the health, self-help and financial sectors, as well as policy makers, researchers and donors — and expand the work beyond India.

Further test and demonstrate the effectiveness, impact and financial sustainability of linking health and microfinance to improve health and financial securities for poor families.

Project Status Through the Alliance, the Microcredit Summit Campaign and Freedom from Hunger are actively partnering with 12 microfinance entities in India (4 networks, 5 MFIs and 3 Self-Help Promoting Institutions or SHPIs) who are reaching a total of more than 330,000 clients, most of them are women, and over 1.5 million people when family members are included with microfinance and health protection services (MAHP), such as health education, health financing (i.e., health loans, savings accounts, and micro-insurance), linkages to healthcare providers, and access to health products.

Implementing Partners in India, October 2012 Implementing Partners

Geographical Current Program Components Outreach Outreach


West Bengal

Gram Utthan


10,000 Community based health education and health volunteers; Health product sales; Health camps.



12,000 Health education

Friends of Women’s World Banking (BDT and KF)


1,500 Health education; Workshops; MAHP; research; product concept development.



5,000 Staff training on market research;Product concept development; Health education; Training of Trainers; Small scale pilot health intervention.

Pioneer Trad

Tamil Nadu

1,500 Continued health education.


Tamil Nadu

1,250 Continued health education.

Reach India

Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkland, West Bengal, Bihar, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh

10,000 Health education for frontline workers: Interactive learning tools on issues of infant and young childfeeding, immunization and antenatal care, including IFA, hygiene and sanitation.



40,000 Health education.

WBVHA West Bengal Voluntary Health Association

West Bengal

New Partners


Access Development




244,098 Community based health education and health workers; Health products; Clinical services; Health missions.


5,000 Pilot health education followed by health savings.

Intended Program Components Outreach 15,000 Staff training on education and savings. TBD Pilot health education and loans.

About the Organizations Microcredit Summit Campaign The Microcredit Summit Campaign (the “Campaign”) is the largest global network of institutions and individuals involved in microfinance. The Campaign is committed to the following two goals: 1. Working to ensure that 175 million of the world’s poorest families, especially the women of those families, are receivin g credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the end of 2015. 2. Working to ensure that 100 million families rise above the US$1.25 a day threshold adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), between 1990 and 2015. The Campaign convenes microcredit practitioners, advocates, educational institutions, donor agencies, international financial institutions, NGOs, and others involved with microcredit to promote best practices in the field, to stimulate the interchanging of knowledge, and to work towards alleviating world poverty through microfinance.

Freedom from Hunger Freedom from Hunger is an international development organization dedicated to bringing innovative and sustainable support to the self-help efforts of very poor families around the world. Freedom from Hunger partners with local organizations to demonstrate the value of these innovations and trains those partners to implement the programs sustainably. To ensure that our programs are beneficial and sustainable, we conduct extensive research, evaluate and monitor for impacts, and distribute successful interventions as widely as possible for others to adopt and adapt in their own anti-hunger and anti-poverty efforts. As of June 2011, Freedom from Hunger has trained and supported 150 partner organizations in 19 countries that are currently reaching over 3.9 million people (almost all women in poor, rural communities), benefiting a total of over 21.8 million when family members are included.Freedom from Hunger has made a rich and varied mprint on microfinance practice in India that includes early leadership in the development of the Financial Education program offered through Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), integrating an education methodology called “Learning Conversations” with CRS in eastern India, and designing a curriculum for young girls called “Learning Games for Girls” to help girls plan for and make choices on financial and health issues.

Health and Microfinance Alliance (October 2012)  
Health and Microfinance Alliance (October 2012)