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In truth, too much of contemporary development work relies on stereotypes. And while overly simplistic and ingrained ideas about men, women and the poor may be useful for fundraising purposes, when put into practice by organizations they contribute to ineffective development planning.
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In developing countries around the world, small business owners with dreams of doing more for their families and communities find themselves in this impossible situation.
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Dave Baker is a used car salesman on a mission to make Canada a more fair and equitable place. Go ahead and take a moment. Be skeptical. It took me six months to overcome my initial aversion to the predominant narrative of auto sales. I was sure that there was a catch. There had to be a bait-and-switch somewhere along the way.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. When Mom Necessity visited Sam Goldman one dark African night, she came disguised as a broken lantern and a poisonous snake.
By directing microcredit to women in developing nations, there is an opportunity to economically empower women as well as their communities. Simply put, access to credit and banking institutions is essential in today's economic world and vital to female independence.
For as long as she could remember, Naomi wanted to run her own business. Inspired by a lack of good gluten-free food, she began to operate a small gluten-free bakery, CeleeakNak. After unsuccessful attempts to secure a small business loan, Naomi found Rise Asset Development who offered her financing based on the strength of her character, her work ethic and her business plan.
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FINCA empowers the poor and allows them to develop small businesses as they see fit, whether it be weaving, selling produce, woodworking, baking or any other trade. They understand the only way to truly combat poverty is to provide sustainable work--because without a steady income, things like an education, or proper medical care are not options.
I was thinking about the old saying, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." I realized that probably it's a bad idea to teach people to fish. Probably it's better to ask them how they can solve the problem of feeding their families, then lend them the money to help them implement their own solutions. FINCA empowers the poor and allows them to develop small businesses as they see fit, through microfinancing.
As David Cameron once said, it is "better to mend broken states and act to stop problems before they come to our door." His words resonate because we have come to understand that peace is not just the absence of war, but also the presence of social and economic justice.