Nurturing Microfinance in a Challenging Environment: The Ford Foundation in China
This case study describes how the Ford Foundation has supported the emergence of microfinance in China. It provides details of the Funding the Poor Cooperative (FPC) microfinance project, funded by the Grameen Trust and the Ford Foundation.
The case study states that Ford's success in encouraging microfinance in China can be attributed to following factors:
- Ability to experiment: Ford was able to support the FPC project due to its willingness to take risks and experiment;
- Banking on local people: Ford has consistently supported local people and initiatives in China;
- Fostering policy dialogue through research: Ford recognized that credible local research was needed for Chinese practitioners and policy makers to elaborate an enabling policy environment for microfinance.
The paper concludes that:
- Ford's support of research and capacity building in China has promoted greater professional and practical knowledge of microfinance;
- FPC has given microfinance credibility and visibility in the country, while illuminating some of the concrete legal and financial constraints to sustainable microlending in China.