28 Jun 2011

Comité de Soutien de la Microfinance : towards a global and concrete approach of sustainability

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Comité de Soutien de la Microfinance

The “Comité de Soutien de la Microfinance” was founded as an asbl (*) in 2007 in Luxembourg.

Conference of the 21th June, Luxembourg

Invited by the Comité de Soutien de la Microfinance, the non-profit-making organization Harambee France held on the 21th June a conference in Luxembourg dealing with a key-aspect of the development : training of primary school teachers in Africa. Moreover, Harambee provide scholarship and school material (books mainly). Last but not least they support the organisation of classes in relief camps, like in Sudan.

The schooling of young girls draws specific attention with Harambee, because as Mr. Renaud de Clermont-Tonnerre said : “When you educate girls, you educate mothers and then families” … or as the African proverb says :“Teach a man and you teach an individual, but teach a woman and you teach a village”.

The conference was organised in partnership with : Pétrusse, asbl ; ALCIC, Association Luxembourgeoise des Cadres et Indépendants Chrétiens and the Schengen Peace Foundation.

Encouraging the principle of subsidiarity

Harambee France is part of the network Harambee International whose heardquarter is in Roma.

Since its foundation in 2002 in memory of the Spanish priest Josémaria Escriva de Balaguer, Harambee has had a very pragmatic approach in making the principle of subsidiarity the unavoidable condition to step in. Their results have proved giving the leadership to the local partners (provided they are ready to take their responsibility) is good, because some of their programmes have been resumed with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Education or other influential local organisations involved in education.

In some extent, the Harambee approach has been far ahead of the Paris Declaration (2005) on aid effectiveness which has outlined the ownership of the target countries in their development process and the mutual accountability as two of five fundamental principles for reaching better results in the field.

Conference of the 23th May, Luxembourg

As a reminder, the Comité de Soutien de la Microfinance (CSM) was also part of the organisation committee for the conference held on the 23th May in Luxembourg, on responsible investing. Since 2 years, the CSM has been supporting – along with the Luxembourg-based NGO Aide au Vietnam – a microfinance programme located in Northern Vietnam and run by the French NGO Entrepreneurs du Monde.

What makes this programme (called “Chi-Em”) pretty unique in Vietnam is its focus on non-financial services : training, technical assistance in agriculture and breeding mainly. Microfinance has been suffering a very confused image at a worldwide scale, due to some practitioners offering price-cut microcredits without any other services behind. This kind of solution is absolutely not sustainable.

During the conference, Miss Phuong Do Thi Bich, Head of Chi-Em until April 2011 has presented the results of the assistance of Luxembourg-based volunteers helping at reinforcing the capacities of the local staff in charge of the programme. This assistance has been managed independently as an “Employee Volunteering Programme” since November 2009, with the aim to mobilise on a short- to medium-term period some free human resources and contribute increase awareness on sustainable development practices (more information, see our article of the …).

Next step

Many projects are currently under way with the Comité de Soutien de la Microfinance, in order to answer on one hand the increasing investors demand for using their money with sense, one the other hand to offer an appropriate structure for volunteers ready to transfer their knowledge and in return to learn.

With the new concept being developed, a new name and branding for the CSM should follow in order to incorporate a wider approach that goes far beyond microfinance.
An official communication will come later.

Useful links :

The Schengen Peace Foundation

Entrepreneurs du Monde

(*) Association Sans But Lucratif = non-profit-making organization

One Response to Comité de Soutien de la Microfinance : towards a global and concrete approach of sustainability
  1. Great post, really enjoyed it!
    — Joey


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