Grameen Foundation Launches Mifos

Posted on November 14, 2006

Grameen FoundationThe Grameen Foundation officially launched the Mifos initiative yesterday in Halifax, Canada at the Global Microcredit Summit. Mifos is an open source information management platform that aims to address the considerable technology challenges that face microfinance institutions. One of the major hurdles to sustainable growth in microfinance is the lack of access to affordable data management technology that can scale and grow with each MFI so Mifos comes as very welcome news. Here is a segment from the official press release that sums up the issue and how Mifos will help.

A 2004 survey by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor found that 46 percent of microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world were still using spreadsheets or manual systems to manage their portfolio and client information, severely hindering their efficiency and capacity to scale into the hundreds of thousands. With Mifos, a single technology “backbone” that all microfinance institutions can access and adapt is now available. Its innovative open source model allows microfinance institutions to engage local IT specialists to customize Mifos and to provide ongoing support at local, affordable rates rather than being dependent on one vendor that may sit on the other side of the world.

Many organizations and people have helped the Grameen Foundation with Mifos. The Omidyar Network provided a $1.5mm grant, Cisco Systems was an early supporter and the Global Markets Institute at Goldman Sachs has given 1300 hours of time to this effort. It is great to see so many world class organizations and top notch people pitching in to help further microfinance sustainability.

I am very excited to see how Mifos will help MFIs grow especially because it combines two of my passions: technology and microfinance. The open source nature of Mifos should also prove very engaging as interested people can hop in and work on the code base to make it stronger and more robust. Microfinance and Mifos are truly situations where many hands have made light work so let’s all keep pitching in and evangelizing what microfinance can do.

If you’re a Java developer please click here to get acquainted with Mifos.

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1 Comment so far
  1. Ken Liffiton @ Grameen Foundation November 15, 2006 10:31 am

    Thanks for telling people about this. We’ve been heartened by the support we’ve received from around the tech/entrepreneur/VC communities, especially in commitments of time and expertise. Mifos is a great way for developers and others with tech expertise to get involved with Grameen Foundation’s work to fight poverty with microfinance; we appreciate your support.