the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

From India to Brazil: adapting Hand in Hand’s approach to alleviate poverty

By Svante Persson

Reducing poverty is a global challenge, but solutions can be global as well. Social innovations from Asia can be adapted to Brazil. Successful techniques from projects in Peru can be applied in the Dominican Republic. The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) has identified a successful poverty reduction method developed by the Indian NGO Hand in Hand, and our partner World Vision Brazil has customized it for Brazil. This approach develops income-generating opportunities for 50,000 people in 10 states in the northeast of Brazil, using a combination of technical assistance, access to finance, and linkages to markets and industry in relevant sectors. A regional network of grassroots organizations helps to expand, strengthen, integrate, and institutionalize the job-creation project.

Here are our 3 main lessons of this south-south knowledge transfer.

Sistema Biobolsa: how to transform farm waste into renewable energy

By Guest


By Ignacio Fernandez Admetlla

La versión en español está disponible en el blog hablemos de cambio climático del BID

Based in Mexico, Sistema Biobolsa is a social enterprise that manufactures, distributes, sells, and installs anaerobic bio-digesters that transform farm waste into renewable energy (biogas) and organic fertilizer to small and medium-sized farmers.  

An eye-opening visit to an unusual eyeglass store

By Guest

Versión en Español

By Ignacio Fernandez Admetlla 

Since opening its first eyeglasses store in 2012, Ver de Verdad has expanded to a network of 21 stores across four cities in Mexico and won the National Award for Quality from the Secretary of the Economy in 2013. With support from the MIF-OMJ Accelerator Facility, in September the company launched the country’s first Mobile Diagnostic Center (MDC), offering affordable eyeglasses to low-income rural and peri-urban communities in the outskirts of Culiacán. The MIF project design team recently had the chance to accompany the MCD to see for ourselves the services it provides.

Is preschool education the secret to a more prosperous region?

By Svante Persson

Pic Blog

Investing in preschool is actually more profitable than investing in the stock market. The estimated return (per dollar of cost) for high quality early childhood education is in excess of 10% (see link).  In comparison, over the last 20 years the stock market’s S&P 500 index had an average annual return of less than 7.8% per year (see link). Increasing public investment in preschool education can substantially benefit society at large and could help to address LAC’s long-term skills challenge and chronic income inequality. Poor children who fail to achieve their full academic potential are more likely to enter adulthood without the skills necessary to develop into highly productive members of society able to compete effectively in a more competitive global labor market.


High-quality health services for rural Ecuador: Training family doctors

By Dieter Wittkowski

In December 2010, I first made contact with Dr. David Gaus, who had recently been named “Regional Social Entrepreneur of the Year for Latin America” by the Schwab Foundation. As founder of the sister NGOs Andean Health & Development (AHD) in the USA and SALUDESA in Ecuador, Dr. Gaus received this award for his pioneering work in bringing quality health care to rural and vulnerable populations and training family doctors through a hospital in the remote town of Pedro Vicente Maldonado. Despite already having one sustainable rural hospital, he planned to construct a second hospital to expand health services to other underserved areas of the country, and we at the MIF were in a position to provide additional funding to complement the donations that he had secured.