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Solutions for poverty alleviation

Microfinance has proven to be a successful tool for alleviating poverty, and this recent New York Times article highlights the great leaps achieved by Grameen America, which has provided more than 18,000 low-income women with access to credit and other financial services since 2008. 

Reporter Shaila Dewan notes, however, that many of these women living below the poverty threshold, for whom affordable credit is a rare opportunity, are additionally burdened by the threat of “unpredictable expenses”. 

According to our research, many of these expenses stem from unpredictable health-related costs. Without health insurance and access to affordable, consistent care, many Grameen members find themselves in situations where they must pay out-of-pocket for emergency medical bills, often for health issues that are preventable through primary care. Ultimately, these costs add up and take huge chunks out of valuable income or savings, deterring the upward mobility of families.

“The hidden inequality in America is about fundamental security, the ability to plan,” says Jonathan Morduch, a microfinance expert and NYU professor who heads the Financial Access Initiative.

We envision a future where Grameen members in the U.S. can realize their full capacities and thrive as entrepreneurs because they are able to better plan for and mitigate risks associated with unpredictable health care costs that threaten financial security and social progress.

Click here to read the full article.