True Impact

Both “In MFI, Clients Must Come First” and “Real Good, Not Feel Good,” reiterate the points made in the Illich article, but they also take a different spin on the subject.  They do not deter volunteering as a whole, but they make suggestions on how volunteer organizations should be run.

“Real Good, Not Feel Good” was extremely interesting to me as my project for this semester is studying the impact of the La Ceiba programs.  Every organization needs to have some type of impact study in order to hold them accountable.  Fisher and Starr state that impact must be measurable, sustainable, cost-effective, and replicable in order for it to be of any use.  As I dive into researching impact, these points are reiterated in many of my studies.  I look forward to finding an appropriate impact study for La Ceiba so that we can better our organization and help keep it on track towards our goal.

“In MFI, Clients Must Come First” looks directly at MFIs and their impact.  The article calls for MFIs to become client-centered.  That is, the success of the MFI should be categorized by their clients’ ability to get out of poverty and not just the success of the MFI.  In order to do this we need to truly understand our clients and their living situations.  This is my first semester working with La Ceiba, but from my limited knowledge I would say that La Ceiba does an excellent job at this.  Not only do we go to Honduras and meet with our clients, but also we know why they want a loan and we make an effort to prevent them from defaulting in the first place.  We have a loan officer on the ground and we have set up a limited educational program.  I would like to see us push the education program even more.  The article suggests that an education program should not only focus on business management and loan repayment, but also social services like nutrition and problem solving to increase human capital.  This is the best tool (besides the loans) that we can give our clients.

The two articles encourage volunteer groups (specifically MFIs) to get involved in their clients lives and to know the impact of the efforts.  If we are truly interconnected with the people we are trying to help, then we will see more of an impact and will be able to efficiently help them.  There should be tangible evidence of positive impacts not only in the rate of repayments of loans, but also in the clients’ wellbeing as a whole.  Only then will the main goal of the organization be achieved.

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