The Proximity Challenge: Bringing services closer to poor clients

The World Savings Banks Institute (WSBI) recently released a working paper on Mapping Proximity. This research deals with bringing services close enough to poor clients to be meaningful, while at the same time keeping a sustainable model intact, seeking the “optimal” placement to achieve these goals. CGAP posted a short summary of the paper, and the full version is also available on the WSBI website.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also been working on a proximity project this year: The Financial Services for the Poor (FSP) team at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have teamed up with a host of partners on this interactive web tool, which currently offers data on Uganda, Tanzania, and the latest release, Nigeria. Data on Kenya and Bangladesh will be available in September 2013. This recent blog post by CGAP discusses the development and potential uses for this tool, as well as the potential it creates for data-driven decision-making within the global microfinance sector.


The map above from the CIA Factbook depicts
global poverty rates based on National Poverty lines.
(click the image above to enlarge)

What other challenges do you see with providing products and services
close enough to be meaningful for people living in poverty?

Are these types of tools and resources useful for smaller MFIs
looking to provide more proximate services to poor people?

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