Each semester, students enrolled in the Global Microloan Program will update this site with their weekly program logs. The Spring 2017 student teams include Marketing, Communications and Fundraising; Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits; and Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment.
Enterprise Development and Program Impact Audits Team
Log # 1
BY: Christopher Ferrara
Micro-finance has always been an area that has intrigued me, but I was never particularly knowledgeable on the subject. I began to gain interest in this field, when I read a publication issued by the World Bank, which discussed and explained microfinance completely. It spoke about many of the world’s leading NGOs, as well as Multi-National Corporations, that only target the most affluent citizens of this planet, while everyone else seemed to fall by the waste side. This puzzled me because there is more than a third of the world that is almost unaccounted for by these companies, due to the fact that they believe business cannot be done with them due to their location, financial status, etc. Later on in the article, I recollect viewing the name Muhammad Yunus, the man responsible for establishing the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and instantly became fascinated with the movement that this man was trying to incorporate into modern banking. He gave the people who were supposedly “unbankable” the chance to break their cycle of poverty, by supplying them with microloans they requested, in the hopes of creating a better life for themselves.
This message really spoke to me, because all it took was one person to give the people of the world who were almost forgotten about, a voice again. Muhammad Yunus gave these people the opportunity to be the change they want to see in the world, and soon enough people all over the world adopted his philosophy. He did not do it with the intention of profiting off the less fortunate like many other microfinance institutions do today and that speaks volumes about his character. Even in his book Creating a World without Poverty, his discussion on the adverse effects of Global Warming on countries that are still developing, such as Bangladesh, really showed how deeply he cares for people of this world.
Yunis discussed how rising carbon and greenhouse gas emission, especially in Bangladesh, are causing detrimental effects to the living conditions of the people of this nation. The worst part is that they can’t even help keep Global Warming under control even if they tried, due to the fact that they are lacking necessary resources to even do so. It’s ironic that it is affecting their nations, among other developing countries the most, yet it is economic powerhouses like the United States who contribute to over twenty five percent of greenhouse gases on a global scale. This piece of statistical data really opened my eyes to the bad shape that a lot of developing nations are in, despite the will to change their situation. This book in particular, as well as this specific chapter, has really showed the problems that people outside of the United States are facing, and just how important the microfinance sector can be in these nations. In countries where infrastructure is severely lacking, jobs are almost non-existent, and currencies are almost completely without true value, the odds are against people who are trying to make the most out of there tough situations. The microloans that are given to many of these borrowers, specifically the ones being given by GLOBE, go a long way in facilitating in a literal life transformation. To a person that lives in a nation like the US, a loan of sixty dollars may not seem like a lot, but to a person in a nation like Kenya where that would equate to over 6,000 shillings, this money could deem to be very beneficial.
This class in general has opened my eyes up to many pertinent issues in the world that I had been naïve to previously. I am now getting a different perspective on just how the other half truly lives. The opportunity that I have been given with GLOBE has been one that has been truly eye opening in number of ways. I was put into a group that was not my first choice necessarily, but stepping outside of my comfort zone and seeing things from a perspective that is not necessarily the one I always see from, allows you to grow. I think this is a trait that is really going to be helpful for myself moving forward, and is excited for what the semester holds with this class.
Finance, Budgets and Risk Assessment Team
Log # 1
BY: Alisher Akhatov
Throughout my academic career, I have frequently seen students wearing GLOBE t-shirts doing different activities around campus. I had always wondered what is this program’s goal? How can I be a part of it? Will I be able to make a difference? Still, before joining GLOBE I was a little hesitant, because I did not really have clear answers to some of my questions and I was not sure if the class would be worth the time and effort I had heard was necessary to succeed. However, after just the first two weeks of immersing into to the program, all my questions have been answered above and beyond, not only is this class a place where I want to be, it is a place I feel like I need to be.
Being an international student from a developing country, and coming to the United States, the powerhouse of the world, I have been able to see both sides of the global divide. Seeing such a discrepancy in the living conditions, as well as the life values between the two countries created somewhat of a mess in my mind. Back in my motherland, Uzbekistan, I saw people struggling, and spending every day of their lives fighting against life and its challenges; every single day is a battle for survival. Obviously, here in the United States it is not the same, not even nearly. It has been interesting to see how the place where you are born, has such a direct impact on your spot in the wealth pyramid. You can immediately be born into one of three categories- rich, middle class, or poor, giving obvious significant advantages to some, and terrible circumstances to another.
Being part of GLOBE, during the first week I understood that I was in the right place, with bright people with whom we share a common goal. As soon as I started reading the assigned readings, I learned a lot about microloans, about different organizations and people around the world, “social entrepreneurs” who dedicate their lives to helping people reach their life goals. I realized that anybody can make a difference for these people, including you and I. One of the most useful of the readings was learning about how micro loan institutions operate, and what are their risks, concerns and how exactly the financial details of the loans work.
All the GLOBE managers are interested and dedicated in work they are doing. I am confident in our mission, and I look forward to not only the knowledge I will gain throughout the semester, but the truly needed chances we will be given to sisters and brothers around the world who were not given all the same opportunities that I have been.
Marketing, Communications and Fundraising Team
Log # 1
BY: Sydney Fucci
As an individual that is often described as creative, many of my peers and colleagues do not always understand why I chose to dive into the world of business. I chose to attend the Peter. J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University because I knew that my creative abilities would be a unique resource when entering the business world. I strive to use my abilities, as a manager in GLOBE, to be innovative while developing marketing strategies for the program. In addition to my creativity, my genuine passion to give and care for others was another reason that I was attracted to GLOBE. I am now entering the third week as a GLOBE manager and I have already gained so much from the course. The opportunity to be a GLOBE manager is a blessing because there are very few classes that allow me to express my creativity, business acumen and my passion to help others at the same time.
Although it is only the beginning of the spring semester, GLOBE has already taught me so much about the global economy including the winners and losers of the free market. I find myself asking questions in order to learn more about the world of microfinance. Through the textbook, I have discovered new ideas and tactics to reform and truly change the world. For example, I have often found myself specifically referring to Creating a World Without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus. Reading about Muhammad Yunus, the father of microfinance, who has changed the lives of thousands of poverty-stricken individuals gave me hope. The system he created allows for business opportunity, business lessons and long-term profit for many individuals that may have never exposed to it. This system is one I believe will help many developing nations because it allows for long term profits instead of short-term income through donations.
As an individual that claims to be well versed towards the global economy, service and culture, GLOBE and Yunus have shown me that there is always more to learn in the world of social business. As we approach week three, I truly understand the value of a microloan and the effect that it can have. Loans as small as forty dollars can not only change the life of the loaner but it can change lives of the spouse, parent, children and grandchildren of the loaner. With this information and knowledge GLOBE managers have been working relentlessly to create more opportunity for our loaners by implementing new strategies and increasing our interaction frequency with our audience.
The Marketing and IT team has already made new strides and changes for GLOBE. Currently we are in process of researching the possibility of creating a bank account in order for us to accept cards at bake sales, take online donations and allow for Youtube ad money to be an additional source of revenue. We are scheduled to meet with Scott Van Deusen, the Director of Development in the Office of Annual Campaigns to discuss the importance of having a central account for the organization.
In addition to this, the Marketing and IT team has decided to increase the social media presence of GLOBE by posting once a day. Why is this beneficial? It allows for more people to understand what GLOBE is, why it is important and why it should be supported. By posting information GLOBE news, events and statistics, we will reach a much larger crowd and hopefully more donations. I am excited to see how our new strategies develop throughout the semester, The most important aspects of social business is to adjust and reform according the environment for the advantage of the beneficiaries. I am more than eager to be active in the world of social justice and cannot wait to see the change my fellow GLOBE managers make during this spring semester.