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Aspects of Outreach: A Framework for the Discussion of the Social Benefits of Microfinance

By Mark Schreiner


Wide agreement about the goal of microfinance--to improve the welfare of the poor--has not led to wide agreement about how best to achieve that goal. To aid discussion, I propose a framework for outreach--the social benefits of microfinance--in terms of six aspects: worth, cost, depth, breadth, length, and scope. The framework encompasses both the poverty approach to microfinance and the self-sustainability approach. The poverty approach assumes that great depth of outreach can compensate for narrow breadth, short length, and limited scope. The self-sustainability approach assumes that wide breadth, long length, and ample scope can compensate for shallow depth. I show how to use the framework for BancoSol of Bolivia.Outreach,sustainability,cost-benefit analysis,cost-effectiveness analysis

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