Wisconsin Microfinance (WMF) has an excellent system setup for providing microfinancing loans that requires little overhead, without sacrificing oversight, and has proved to be effective in helping climate disaster-stricken communities recover with dignity.
After Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, I was working with two other Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to identify ways to help communities recover. We learned about WMF, researched their business model, and after meeting with the Board President and Executive Director, decided to work together rather than try to create our own non-profit structure or do fund-raising that would donate to a large humanitarian aid organization. This has been a good decision.
The oversight of the Board President (also the UW-Madison Business School Professor who helped form the program with students after the 2010 Haiti earthquake) is a key component. His insistence on good record-keeping from the Haitian and Philippine recipients means that we know that our funds for microfinance loans will not be diverted.
Meanwhile, the solid work of the Executive Director (a UW-Madison student) has meant that details of funds management, website development, and outreach are being handled.
Their cooperation (focused on Haiti fundraising and overall program resiliency) with our subgroup (focused on Philippines fundraising) has helped families in the more remote areas of these countries receive funds to rebuild their small businesses.
Wisconsin Microfinance has done exceptional work in developing economies in Haiti and the Philippines. 100% of my donation went right to loan recipients, who used the money to start small businesses and escape poverty. Since I donated, the village in Haiti has opened a new health clinic, a market, and a school. Looking forward to seeing where they go next!