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Microfinance: A new loan on life | 

Microfinance saved Edelma Altamirano’s life.

I had lunch on Sunday with Edelma Altamirano, who lives in León, Nicaragua, but is visiting Seattle because she’s the featured speaker at Global Partnership’s Business of Hope luncheon on Tuesday at the Westin Hotel.

Tom Paulson

Global Partnerships Mary Herrick and Edelma Altamirano, smashing crab

We ate at the Crab Pot at Pier 57, where she got to wear a paper bib and hit massive crab legs with a wooden mallet. Mary Herrick and Ana Maria Echeverria, both with Global Partnerships, were showing her around. It was a warmish, moist day full of tourists and kitsch.

Altamirano’s story — which you will have to go to the Tuesday event to hear in full — is the difference between microfinance that’s about money and microfinance that’s about people.

Nothing against money. Poor people would like more of it, which is what microfinance is supposed to be aimed at accomplishing.

But there’s lot of confusion lately around this exploding field of micro-lending, which includes other equally ill-defined, seemingly interchangeable terms such as “microcredit” and “microloans.” Continue reading