Study visit on Microfinance success in the Southeast Asia
(VBSP News) In 2009, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) cooperated with the Asian Institute of Development Studies, Inc. (AIDSI) to organize a Study Tour Program on Microfinance in four countries namely, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Field visit to Central Bank in Indonesia
There were twelve participants in each group. The main objective of this program was to provide participants exposure on different policies, programs and best practices of different microfinance institutions in four countries. The participants visited various government and microfinance institutions; they also met and discussed with policy makers and microfinance personnel in different visited areas. Through field visits, they were allowed to observe the processes, programs and activities of the microfinance sector at the national/regional and local levels.
The study tour program in Philippines helped participants to acquaint on microfinance policies, programs and credit facilities in the Philippines. They also learnt the development of the Philippine microfinance and as a poverty alleviation and economic development tool, understanding the role of different microfinance players in the country that develops the microfinance industry as well as observing on-site activities of selected microfinance institutions and identify appropriate practices that are suitable in the Vietnam context. Various training methods were used during the study tour that aimed to provide sufficient knowledge to the participants about the microfinance industry in the Philippines. The program entitled “Study Tour Program on Microfinance in the Indonesia” gave participants a new model microfinance institution based on Muslim principles, visiting this institution help to know the difference between a normal agriculture bank and a Muslim agriculture bank. This program provided exposure on the processes and lessons learned on microfinance activities in Indonesia from the experiences of both users and microfinance. Various training methods were also used during the study tour to provide sufficient knowledge on microfinance industry in Indonesia. Lecture-discussions, experiential learning/field visits were conducted to provide approach of the program. The study tour program provided exposure on the processes and lessons learned on microfinance activities in Thailand from the experience of both users and microfinance providers for the poorest of the population.
The main idea behind microfinance is that poor people, who can provide no collateral. It has proven to be very effective development tool because it provides empowerment instead of charity. It is not a solution to all of the world’s problems, but experiences in Thailand show that it has helped in bringing about a sufficiency economy through group activities as well as individual entrepreneurs. The microfinance in Malaysia has been operated by credit unions, co-operative banks and specialized credit windows of banks. Microfinance services of financial credit range for about RM10,000 (USD 2,946) and mostly to finance small businesses, agricultural loans and loans for poverty reduction.
In summary, study tour programs is not only a very effective tool to provide exposure on different policies, programs and best practices of different microfinance institutions in different countries but also a bridge to cooperate VBSP with other microfinance institutions in the world.
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