The growth and increased professionalism of the microfinance movement over the past two decades has been remarkable. There is a growing body of literature about what makes microfinance successful, and many online resources are available for those interested in learning more about this powerful tool for poverty alleviation. Some of the best include:
The Rural Finance Learning Centre is a new information gateway providing access to information and materials designed to support capacity-building for organizations providing microfinance and other financial services in rural areas.
MicroLINKS, a site created and run by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provides information on microenterprise; best practices; lessons learned from USAID missions, partners, and practitioners; a library of documents, reports, and tools; and an environment that supports and enriches communities of practice focused on the many facets of microenterprise development.
The Microcredit Summit. FINCA was one of the co-convenors of the first Microcredit Summit in 1997. It brought together, for the first time, thousands of leading microfinance practitioners and supporters to take stock of the movement’s position and chart a path for dramatic growth through collective action. The Summit has since incorporated as its own organization and is a leading source for information and advocacy tools.
The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) is a consortium of 33 public and private development agencies working together to expand access to financial services for the poor in developing countries. CGAP was created by these aid agencies and industry leaders to help create permanent financial services for the poor on a large scale. CGAP's unique membership structure and network of worldwide partners make it a potent convening platform to generate global consensus on standards and norms. As such, CGAP is a resource center for the entire microfinance industry, where it incubates and supports new ideas, innovative products, cutting-edge technology, novel mechanisms for delivering financial services, and concrete solutions to the challenges of expanding microfinance.
The Microfinance Gateway is a bulletin board for the entire microfinance community. It is updated daily with articles on microfinance topics from journals and newspapers around the world. It also includes the most extensive online library of documents relating to microfinance, discussion groups about timely topics, job listings, links to user-specific resource centers, and a wealth of other information.
The ESR Review (formerly the Journal of Microfinance) is intended to influence microfinance's direction by focusing on practical experiences in the field and lessons learned. Although it is intended primarily for practitioners, many of its articles are of interest to those generally interested in microfinance.
The World Bank website contains a great deal of information and policy recommendations about microfinance programs.