It’s been quite a while since my last post. After a good run I have taken some time out to think about why I write this blog and where I want to go with it. This is partly the result of attending two excellent conferences in October and becoming somewhat overwhelmed with meeting so many fantastic people and learning so much of what is going on in the poverty alleviation field.
As readers of this blog will remember, I attended the SOCAP10 conference in early October and submitted an entry to the SOCAP Challenge which, thanks to the votes of many readers, was selected as one of the winning entries and posted on Triple Pundit. My idea for starting a social business focused on training young graduates to work in low income communities as Community Development Bankers has generated a great deal of interest and now I am working on moving the concept forward.
In mid-October I attended another conference, the Opportunity Collaboration, held in Ixtapa, Mexico. About 300 social entrepreneurs, funders and non-profit executives gathered to share ideas, learn from one another and create alliances and synergies in their efforts to alleviate global poverty. For one so new to the cause it was an exciting and humbling learning experience. Again, lots of positive feedback on what I am now calling the Community Development Banker Corps (CDBC).
So, how to move the CDBC from concept to reality and what of “Banking on the Poor?” Clearly, a business plan is needed for the CDBC and I have begun working on that. I am also looking for collaborators and fellowship and social business plan contest opportunities. I first articulated the idea for the CDBC in my post below "$120 Billion Opportunity for the Poor." Essentially the idea is to create a social business, modeled on Teach for America, to train college graduates to work as Community Development Bankers in low-income communities. I believe the biggest constrain facing anti-poverty efforts is not a lack of money but a lack of well trained, motivated people working with the poor to help them raise themselves out of poverty.
“Banking on the Poor” has morphed over the past year (almost) that I have been writing it from an account of my experience in Indonesia working with Grameen Foundation’s “Bankers without Borders” (see a YouTube clip here which features the work done by this organization including my work with PT Ruma), to a forum discussing issues affecting the poor. While I will continue to use the blog to speak out on poverty related issues in general and articulate ideas around financial access for the poor, I will also use it to promote the development of the Community Development Banker Corps.