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Microfinance as a tool for developing resilience in vulnerable communities

Inayat Ullah (KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Seoul, South Korea and Department of Management Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Attock Campus, Pakistan)
Madiha Khan (Department of Management Studies, University of Malakand, Chakdara, Pakistan)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review different microfinance products and services that can be offered to reduce the financial vulnerabilities of communities at risk. Following a detail literature review, the effectiveness of different forms of microfinance services in creating resilience in the affected communities was analysed and whether they can be applied to mitigate the risk of future disasters was assessed. In addition, the study was conducted to assess whether microcredit can help reduce direct risk exposure of the poor through income smoothing.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on a review of existing theories.

Findings

The notion that most vulnerable communities are financially weak is evident from studies. This study finds that microcredit can help reduce direct risk exposure of poor through income smoothing, while saving can help them recover from the losses of disasters. Our review also suggests that there is no specific model of microfinance services which can have a holistic impact on the financial capacity-building, particularly during the rehabilitation process.

Research limitations/implications

There are different categories of microfinance products with distinct characteristics and associated benefits to the communities. Some of the major microfinance products as identified in this study are, saving products, credit products and insurance products. These products have multidimensional benefits, as there are many approaches adopted by microfinance institutions (MFIs) and clients regarding the use of these products. However this study focuses on the use of these products towards resilience development in the community. Other applications of these products still need to be explored.

Practical implications

There is a need for a comprehensive financial tool that can be effectively applied to expedite the process of rehabilitation and reduce the financial impact of disasters on the community, particularly the poor. Major issues in the context of disasters faced by MFIs to design their products in the affected areas are also highlighted in the study.

Social implications

The study throws lights on different microfinancial tools such as microloans, microcredits and cash for work, etc. offered by banks and other organizations and highlights their role in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of those affected by disasters in different parts of the world.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the discourse of microfinance and its social applications in developing countries. It provides original role of microfinance as a tool for creating community resilience to the impacts of disasters.

Keywords

Citation

Ullah, I. and Khan, M. (2017), "Microfinance as a tool for developing resilience in vulnerable communities", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 237-257. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-06-2015-0033

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited