"It’s Time To Rethink How We View Microfinance Institutions" - Aaron Baum, PhD
The core competency of microfinance institutions isn’t finance — it’s distribution. Their central infrastructure isn’t bank branches, but rather networked group meetings. And the return on investment from their loans isn’t the interest; it’s the added value of organizing vulnerable populations in rural areas of low-income countries into a platform. Published this week in Health Affairs, the study tested whether training microfinance center chiefs to deliver micronutrient supplements during credit center meetings improved nutrition among children under five. Aaron Baum, PhD, assistant professor of global health and lead economist at the Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, “We know that delivering interventions via well-connected peers may improve their spread and targeting. Policymakers seeking to rapidly increase scale lay health worker programs should consider incorporating training of MFI center chiefs into their deployment strategy.” He added that using MFI networks to deliver life-saving products offers a promising approach to reach scale.
- Aaron Baum, PhD, Assistant Professor, Global Health, Lead Economist, The Arnhold Institute for Global Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai