Week of February 22, 2011

In the past two weeks alone CNNBBC, and the Guardian, not to mention countless other media outlets around the world, have been reporting on the ongoing feud between microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus and the Bangladeshi government. While the Bangladeshi government continues to pressure Yunus to leave the top post at Grameen, some researchers and practitioners have continued to dig more deeply to better understand the financial lives of the poor and evaluate tools, mechanisms, and strategies to alleviate poverty. Here are some of the ideas and research circulating in the blogosphere:

•    From The Guardian"Can microinsurance protect the poor?" 
•    David Roodman looks at microfinance impacts in Africa and examines Milton Bateford’s arguments re: who is to blame for indebtedness
•    Robert Townsend delves into the financial lives of the poor in Thailand
•    Gina Harmon, president and CEO of Accion discusses the economic imperatives of scaling microfinance in the U.S. in the Huffington Post
•    Visa and humanitarian groups partner to improve aid disbursement 
•    Stuart Rutherford and FAI’s Jonathan Morduch discuss the importance of microsavings
•    David Roodman and Barbara Cristina S. debate financial access and the poor
•    Matthew Bishop and Felix Salmon debate the value of for-profit microfinance
•    The World Bank examines why so few farmers want rainfall insurance
•    Andrew Sprung on the Smart Campaign to launch a certification program for client protection
•    Interesting analysis of potential impact of microfinance caps in “Sacrificing Microcredit for Unrealistic Goals

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