Does Microfinance Work? Does it do more Harm than Good? 
Sunday, August 14, 2011, 01:13 AM - The Solidarity Economy & Microfinance
Microfinance has come into the news lately, in part because of this new book and in part, because there are issues with some microfinance programs. Microfinance is often part of the financial sectors that have gotten themselves in a mess. Like them, there is over lending, over leveraging and just plain bad management. I've seen some of these. But I've also seen some powerful examples of what microfinance can do. Check out SEWA Bank on my links, for example. 800,000 women in a trade union with a cooperative, small scale pharmacies, literacy, marketing, producer and service cooperatives. They even offer pension schemes and daily savings collection. Most of these incredibly savvy and resourceful women are illiterate. Much of my work has been with savings groups and cooperatives but I've also seen some very effective microfinance programs. KixiCredito, Angola, also on my links is one of these examples. Polarizations are provocative but in the real world, it's messier and more complex. There is always good, bad and ugly. But don't take my word for it. Ask the women themselves.

Click on the Related Link below for an interview that I did with the Halifax Media Coop on these issues.
  |  related link
Paddling in Keji 
Monday, August 1, 2011, 02:07 PM - Outdoor adventure

Arts in Transformative Learning 
Monday, August 1, 2011, 01:54 PM - Adult and Popular Education
Peter Taylor (IDRC formerly IDS, University of Sussex) and I just finished an article on the transformative potential of arts in learning and social change. It draws on examples of poetry, creative writing and experiences of innovative practice shared by adult educators through an e-forum from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. The paper provides a conceptual frame to explore tensions in adult learning between the mytho-poetic and the critical-rational, and between the individual and the collective. It will be published in the Journal of Adult and Contiuing Education in October.Contact me if you'd like a copy.

Distance Course on Savings Groups  
Sunday, May 1, 2011, 01:11 PM - Adult and Popular Education
From February to May, I facilitated a 15-week distance (online) course on community-based microfinance for the Coady Institute with co-facilitators from India and Zimbabwe. Savings group practitioners stayed in their organizations and communities while deepening their practice. The course used a hands-on, peer-exchange, participatory learning format including field-based assignments.

We had participants from Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, India and Guyana. Join us next February. Bursaries are available for field practitioners from the Global South.

Found, Fukushima 
Thursday, March 24, 2011, 12:00 AM - Poetry and Writing
Cooling failure, cold
shut down, partial
melting of core, vapor
vented, hydrogen explosion,
(yes you read correctly)
hydrogen explosion,
seawater pumped in,
fuel rods fully
exposed, damage to
system, potential
meltdown feared,
pool holding
spent fuel rods,
pool water levels
receding, reactor
no. 5, no. 6, no. 4
no. 7 - under maintenance
when quake struck.

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