/ PFT Online Course on 'FUNDAMENTALS OF MICROFINANCE'
Introduction and Background
to the World Bank, there are more than 500 million economically
active poor individuals in the world operating microenterprises
and small businesses, and most of them do not have access to financial
services. One of the ways by which their demand for financial services
has been met is through the provisions of microcredit. The microfinance
industry has been very successful in helping the poor to obtain
necessary financial resources for entrepreneurship purposes, as
the support for such activities is perceived to reduce poverty and
empower certain segments of the population. However, there are still
a vast number of poor individuals who have not been able to benefit
from this financial assistance, which clearly points out the need
for the microfinance industry to grow and become more sustainable.
It needs to generate greater support from the donors as well as
to play a greater role in the financial sector.
The course is designed to help participants learn about sustainable
microfinance in terms of principles and good practices as they are
applied by worldwide institutions today. It provides a comprehensive
overview of the microeconomic fundamentals and how microfinance
activities are implemented, evaluated, and managed. It will also
help individuals gain greater insight into microfinance practices.
||when slots are full
||September 27 to October
||Minimum of 35 hours
||US $ 400/-
||UNITAR Geneva (Course Administration
and Technical Questions)
At the end of the course, the participants should be able to:
- Understand the concept and principles
- Identify issues that hinder the
success of microfinance in their country;
- Appraise the state of microfinance
in their respective country;
- Explain to a group of would-be operators
of microenterprises and small businesses the significant components
of microfinance such as financial instruments and lending methodologies,
performance evaluation and management, and preparing financial
- Recommend positive approaches that
will facilitate the poor's access to financial services.
The target audience are professionals who want to learn about sustainable
microfinance as it is practiced today, as well as individuals who
are involved in microfinance operations and want to see how their
work fits into global microfinance initiatives. The course is also
useful for experts in other fields who wish to understand the importance
of microfinance as a development tool.
Structure / Outline
This online course will involve a mix
of self-study and online interaction culminating in a practical
understanding of fundamentals of microfinance through online group
work. Throughout the duration of the course, participants will go
through theoretical and conceptual material prepared by UNITAR and
will have an opportunity to relate it to real-life situations through
online discussions and peer-to-peer interaction. There will be a
quiz/assignment at the end of the course which is a requirement
for obtaining a course certificate.
The course consists of the following
The World of Microfinance
This Module will
give participants some general insights as to what microfinance
is, who are its clients, what services does it offer, and what
are the risks that the sector faces; the concepts which will be
discussed in greater detail in later modules. This Module will
also provide participants with some short historical background
on microfinance and its current growth.
Module 2: Financial
This Module will discuss
the significance of the microfinance sector in a country and the
importance of macro-level policy and regulations for developing
microfinance providers and microenterprises. The Module will examine
how clients are selected for microfinance services and will analyse
the different range of products and services that a microfinance
institutions might offer and the factors that influence its decision.
The Module will also examine the range of institutional types
and other relevant issues that are appropriate for microfinance.
Module 3: Financial
Instruments and Lending Methodologies in Microfinance
This Module will analyse
the different elements of lending products and the way in which
these elements affect both borrowers and the viability of the
microfinance institution. It will discuss the designing of different
financial products by the microfinance institution that are specifically
geared to the target market, meets the needs of its clients and
also the capacity of the microfinance institution. It will discuss
various methods to calculate the appropriate loan amounts, loan
terms, collateral requirements, interest rates and fee, and compulsory
Module 4: Measuring
Performance and Future Growth of Microfinance
This Module will discuss
the reasons for various adjustments that need to be made to the
balance sheets and income statements of the microfinance institution
before analyzing its financial performance, identify the ways
to determine appropriate adjustments, and ways to make them. The
Module will discuss how to calculate performance indicators that
provide information about different areas of microfinance operations
and will examine the usefulness of the performance indicators
are useful in terms of determining the efficiency, viability,
and outreach of microfinance institutions. The Module will also
discuss various operational issues affecting financial performance
and how they can be effectively manage to improve the performance
of a microfinance institution.
This Module will also briefly discuss
various factors that might jeopardize the effectiveness of microenterprises.
It will also discuss some of the political and legal aspects that
need to be considered in terms of microenterprise expansion.
This course will be conducted over the internet using UNITAR's e-Learning
infrastructure for a four-week period. Participants will require a
minimum of 90 minutes of study each day. The course pedagogy will
allow for three levels of interaction. At the first level, the participants
will interact with the training content. At the second level, the
participants will interact with other participants to share experiences
and learn in a contextual manner (using an online discussion board
facility). At the third level, the participants will interact with
a seasoned international negotiator (course mentor) who will moderate
the course for its entire duration. At the core of this course is
a set of online interactions and discussions, each of which will be
coached by an expert.
UNITAR online courses attempt to create
a networked learning environment, in which participants have the
flexibility to learn at their own convenience and pace but also
are able to interact with peers and experts through the discussion
This online course will be conducted
in the English language.
This course is designed as an online course in which participants
will be primarily responsible for their own learning. Each lesson
will consist of the following components:
Reading Materials (Compulsory Reading Materials):
these materials are intended to educate the participants
about the basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject-matter
of the lesson. It will include, where appropriate, sample materials.
These materials will constitute the required reading materials
for the lesson
Reading Materials (Optional Reading Materials): this
will consist of optional reading materials for participants who
wish to learn more about the topic than what is covered in the
Links: This will refer the interested participants
to additional books, articles, documents, and websites that deal
with the issues raised in the lesson.
At the end of each lesson there will be a set of quizzes
for participants to answer. These quizzes are designed to test
the participant's understanding of the lesson. Participants are
required to pass each quiz and obtain at least 80% or more passing
grade in order to be eligible for a certificate. All quizzes will
need to be taken online.
Discussion Board: There will be a community discussion
board available on which participants can post questions or comments
that can be seen by the instructor and the other participants.
This discussion board will be moderated by the course director
and UNITAR. Structured discussion strings will be posted on a
All successful participants will be
eligible to a certificate after completion of this online course.