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They took the micro out of micro enterprise

by Phil Bartle, PhD


Short Stories to illustrate the principles

Cory worked for an international NGO, and had a budget to set up some micro enterprise projects and a micro credit loan system for entrepreneurs in training. His guidelines included loan limits of about $500 and to give preference to women.

He was very sensitive to community needs and stated desires, but did not realize that his government counterpart, Ali, was not speaking for the communities. He and his cronies wanted their hands on the money. Ali convinced Cory that, in this economy, a five hundred loan would be useless; five times that, at least would be minimum. Ali also said that the loans should be given to men, who would then give them to their wives, as it would be un-Islamic for the women to deal directly with the NGO.

Finally, Cory reluctantly agreed, and used his seed money to give out loans averaging three thousand dollars (local equivalent) to several men who were chosen, according to the counterpart, by local community groups. The loans were never repaid, the seed money was gone, and no income was generated.


Note: These stories are based on actual events. The names of people and places have been changed for the sake of anonymity.

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2012.07.02

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