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The Roots of The Mifos Initiative

As told by James Dailey, Chief Innovation Officer, at the 2015 Mifos Summit

james-headshotHere is my Mifos story. Back in November 2001 I took a trip to visit a microfinance program outside of Hyderabad, India. I met a group of women who had gone through a process of learning how to save first, then to take out a loan – Microfinance-101.  There were mountains of paper forms: forms for groups, for ledgers, for receipts, for new loans, for repeat loans filled out by the loan officers and for processing at a branch office.   Aside from being profoundly humbled by the dedication these women had to bettering their lives, I realized that data really mattered to MFIs! Providing a service in the field efficiently and effectively mattered AND data enabled that.

I decided to stay the night in the branch office so I could be at the morning borrower meeting. That night, we were literally locked into the same room as the safe with a guard and shotgun downstairs and another outside.  As I fell asleep staring at stacks of paper forms, and imagining similar rooms, thousands of them across the world, I had an epiphany: there had to be a better way.  4140326923_3473a3a7ea_o

As I watched the data being entered into a PC the next day, I came to understand that there was no easy ‘low cost’ system for microfinance operations. Instead they and many others had built their own portfolio systems, or were trying to or they were working with under capitalized software companies.  MFIs implementing their own systems made as much sense as everyone writing their own operating system, so that’s when an idea popped in: Why not an open source, community driven operating system for financial services? Read more

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How the Silk Road turns into a path to meet Friends

Contributing the first post in our summit wrap-up blog series is Markus Geiss, who attended his first Mifos Summit, and will soon be joining the team full time as Chief Architect. Read on to hear Markus’ tale of his time in Sharjah.

On Monday March 9th I boarded the plane to fly to Sharjah and meet with the Mifos Community at our annual summit. I was all alone and didn’t know what to expect. As I left Sharjah on Friday March 13th my heart was filled with impressions and new friends.  What happened?

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It all started immediately upon my arrival in Sharjah. I met the Conflux Gang right at the airport. As we reached the hotel a crowd of people from all over the world already awaited us and gave us a hearty and warm welcome. During the course of the following three days it simply felt like meeting good old friends who we have not seen for a while. Read more

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Global Mifos Summit Wrap-Ups

Our Global Mifos Summit in Sharjah has come and gone in a flash yet once again it was an incredibly invigorating time and exciting to see all the new opportunities and momentum that is building across the community.

We’ll be posting photos, notes, and major takeaways from each of the sessions but we thought the best way to share the summit with those who weren’t able to attend is through a firsthand look from the attendees of our summit. We’ll start with a series of blog posts from our staff but welcome any community members to write a blog post and share.
In the meantime, if you did attend the summit and haven’t filled out your feedback form, please click here to do it now. It will only take a few minutes and help us to make our future events more valuable and effective for all in attendance.
We don’t want all the wonderful ideas or fruitful discussion to get lost so please post your notes to the Summit Hackpad.
If you took photos, please share them on our Google+ event page.