NGO Microfinance in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Epilogue

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Publication Date:
March 14, 2008

Source:
Harvard Kennedy School

In 1998, the Tibet Poverty Alleviation Fund (TPAF), a small, US-based non-governmental organization, launched an initiative to bring the benefits of microfinance to the impoverished people of rural Tibet. Based on the lending model pioneered by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, TPAF’s microfinance program would make small loans to individuals and families to help them start up small-scale enterprises that would, it was hoped, raise their incomes and improve their standard of living. In consultation with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government, two vastly different, but representative, communities were ed for the program: the agricultural villages of the southern Lhoka Prefecture and the semi-nomadic communities on the plateau of Nakchu Prefecture. TPAF had been established with the specific mission of using poverty alleviation techniques to demonstrate that, with some adaptations from standard models and methods, it was possible to make poverty programs work in the difficult conditions of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Nevertheless, adapting the Grameen model for use in TAR would be a challenge even for TPAF’s experienced staff. This would be especially true in Nakchu Prefecture, where a scattered population, primitive roads, and a livestock-based economy would require significant modification to a program designed to make small loans to recipients who lived and worked in close proximity. HKS Case Number 1913.1

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NGO Microfinance in the Tibet Autonomous Region, Epilogue

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