Have you heard how one cow can end poverty?

Maree Nutt is the national manager of the anti-poverty group, RESULTS. She says alleviating poverty is not just about access to clean water, food and shelter, it can also involve access to finance.

MAREE NUTT: If you have access to affordable credit and if you have access to a safe place to put your money, that makes an enormous difference. It makes an enormous difference to our lives, why should it be any different for people who are in poorer countries?

LEXI METHERELL: But how does it work, because I guess most financial institutions wouldn’t want to lend to someone whose cash flow might be quite minimal and they might not have much collateral behind them. How does it all work?

MAREE NUTT: The specialist microfinance institutions were set up where people were able to borrow money. One of the things about microfinance is the repayments are usually very small but very regular.

LEXI METHERELL: The microcredit summit campaign is made up of hundreds of organisations and is tracking the expansion of microfinance around the world. It’s released a report showing that a record 128 million of the world’s poorest families received a microloan in 2009.

That compares to 7.6 million in 1997.

The loans allow people to invest in capital that they may not have otherwise been able to afford so they can start at small business – tools for a gardening business or scissors and mirrors for hairdressing, for example.

The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, one of the most high profile microfinance organisations, has more than 8 million clients and most of them are women. But now developed countries are getting on board too.

For more on today’s interview go to: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2011/s3158106.htm?site=brisbane

For more on the Grameen bank go to: www.grameen-info.org

For more on RESULTS a group that lobbies the media and politicians to end hunger and poverty go to: www.results.org

Farming Secrets supports the Grameen bank and the ending of poverty and hunger.

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