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Microfinance jobs for beginners

By Oliver Subasinghe27 January 2009

Members of the women's group Kazi Bora (Swahili for "good workers") collect payments for microloans provided them by the U.S.-based microloan organization Kiva. Microfinance loan officers routinely attend such meetings to record loan repayments, monitor client progress and train locals on business skills, health education or financial literacy. Photo by: Oliver Subasinghe

The microfinance sector is growing, and so are opportunities for those interested in building a career by helping the poor access financial services on equitable terms.

But, starting in microfinance can be daunting since the maturation of this industry has lead to greater competition for jobs and demand for advanced skills. Jobseekers may also be overwhelmed by the different types of “nonprofit” and commercial “for-profit” entities that serve the working poor.

The Mix Market, an online platform for microfinance stakeholders, currently lists 1,337 microfinance institutions along with hundreds of organizations that fund and support their mission. The PlaNet Finance Group reckons that more than 10,000 MFIs serve an estimated 150 million people globally.

Due to the grassroots nature of microfinance, the bulk of jobs are situated in the field and are staffed by local hires. But there are opportunities for people everywhere to contribute, whether it be with a microfinance institution, international network or service provider.

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About the author

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Oliver Subasinghe

Oliver joined Devex in late 2008 as an international development correspondent and researcher. He previously served as a microfinance fellow for Kiva in Kenya and Uganda. During his tenure, he worked with Kiva’s field partners to improve their operations and governance. Oliver holds a master's in business from the College of William & Mary.


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