14th Boulder Microfinance Training Programme
“Microfinance is generating a lot of excitement all over the world, and this is simply because… it works!” These are the enthusiastic words of Robert Peck Christen, Director of Financial Services for the Poor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a man who can capitalize on over 25 years of experience in leading the development of the microfinance sector and who is the mastermind of the Microfinance Training Program (MFT), which starts today in Turin, Italy, and is hosted for the fourth consecutive year by the International Training Centre of the ILO.
Over 260 participants from 76 countries (the biggest attendance ever); some 60 top-notch lecturers from all the continents; 16 daily parallel sessions (in English and French); a secretariat of 12 staff members watching over the participants: these are the figures of the course, affectionately known as “the Boulder Programme”. Over the next three weeks, the course will strive to provide an unparalleled learning environment encompassing a rich community of leaders from across the field of microfinance. It will emphasize ‘best practice’ in programme design, and specific tools with which to achieve long-term financial sustainability and growth. The MFT is a pioneer in intensive ‘best practice’ training, with an alumni network of over 2,200 practitioners from almost all the world.
This event is more than just training; it is an experience. It brings together top subject experts and, by talking and sharing with each other, participants get a grip on the best practice around the world. The interaction between students and faculty enables them to make the most of the truly international learning environment. “It is quite uncommon for a participant in a course to have the chance to be exposed to such a variety of nationalities and personal experiences. This is the strength of the Boulder Programme,” said Larry Reed, Academic Vice President of the Boulder Institute of Microfinance, during the opening ceremony.
Apart from the “Boulder Programme”, the ILO’s Training Centre offers a wide range of courses on microfinance, including: Making microfinance work; Leasing work for small and micro enterprises; Making micro-insurance work for microfinance institutions; Microfinance in conflict-affected communities (with the UNHCR); and Guarantee funds for small enterprises. These are all supported technically by the ILO's Social Finance Programme. In addition, it offers training in Strategies for the extension of social security, which includes mutual health insurance schemes for workers in the informal economy.