Essay Microfinance and MicroFranchises: A Solution to Poverty

Essay Microfinance and MicroFranchises: A Solution to Poverty

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With the rise of the morning sun, most of us awake to a day of possibilities, but for those in extreme poverty daybreak brings only anxiety and despair as they try to survive on little to nothing. Over one billion people are currently living in extreme poverty, unable to fathom a future free from hunger, disease and oppression. Extreme poverty, defined as living on $1.25 a day or less, traps generations into an arduous existence with few opportunities to escape. Helping to eliminate extreme poverty means first understanding that it is possible to provide people with a pathway out and if it is possible, we therefore have the responsibility to do so. Millions die each year as a result of extreme poverty. While few would argue that we should avoid saving the lives of millions, many may argue that the situation is hopeless. Dispelling this myth is vital to making the public understand that we have the tools within our grasp to end extreme poverty within the next 30 years. According to the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Report, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in Eastern Asia dropped from an 60% in 1990 to an astounding 16% in 2005. This represents a remarkable achievement for such a short time frame and should serve as evidence that with focused effort we are capable of eliminating extreme poverty. The path towards eliminating extreme poverty will not be easy, but through innovation, ingenuity and involvement we can achieve this goal.

Involvement should include both the community and whenever possible existing governmental agencies. Having a pre-established framework in place can expedite the process of helping to stabilize a community in crisis and build the groundwork for growth. Governmental agenc...

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...pportunity to purchase the basic supplies needed to start their own business ventures and begin their way toward self-sufficiency. Along this same idea, is the establishment of franchising kiosks to provide missing but needed services. Financing is provided to help those in poverty purchase into the franchise where they serve as the business owner using pre-established protocols. Franchising allows for minimized risk because the advertising and supplies are provided as well as the initial capital and business plan so money is more effectively spent. VisionSpring is a shining example of this idea. Community members purchase their own VisionSpring franchise and sell eyeglasses to surrounding low-income communities who would otherwise have no source of eye correcting glasses. This provides the seller with a living wage and the community with a valuable service.

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