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.

Creating the space for innovation – eThekwini Water & Sanitation Unit

By Guest


Community stand-post, Frasers informal settlement. Tongaat: Phindile Nyawose, EWS.

By Tracey Keatman, Programme Director. Building Partnerships for Development ***

 We had been discussing some of the technical, financial, social and business innovations developed and then delivered by EWS across the municipality to increase or enhance service delivery to the un-served. Necessity is clearly a major driver for innovation – but can innovation (of any nature) on its own have the impact we need to provide services to all? During my week with EWS I saw how the potential for developing innovative ideas and approaches can best be harnessed by an organization that has an enabling and open culture; where an ethos of incremental learning and a willingness to learn by doing goes hand-inhand with evidence-based strategic decision-making.

Guatemala: Access to Health in Rural Areas

By Guest


By Andrés Martínez, Director of the EHAS Foundation and member of the Innovation and Technology for Development Centre (itdUPM)

The department of Alta Verazpaz in Guatemala has a population of close to 1.2 million, of which 78% live in rural areas and 89% belong to indigenous communities (mostly Q’eqchi’, but Poqomchi' as well). In this department only one third of births are attended by healthcare personnel and two thirds of children are affected by chronic malnutrition. This, along with the difficulty of accessing the healthcare system and other cultural factors, leads to maternal and child mortality rates in the region being amongst the highest in Latin America, with an estimated 268 women dying for every 100,000 live births and a mortality rate of 1 out of 50 for children under 5 years old.

Basic Services: New models for the private sector

By Celia Bedoya del Olmo


Versión en español

Innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships and business models for improving access to basic services are emerging globally. Poor and vulnerable households need electricity, water, sanitation, health and education in order to be healthy and productive. In recent decades, there have been significant improvements in Latin America and the Caribbean, but the “last mile”— communities that are extremely isolated by distance, poverty, or other factors—still lacks sustainable, affordable and quality services. More than ever, creative and locally-adapted solutions for addressing poverty based on alliances between actors can help close the access gap.

Investment in integrated health services model leads to better health for nearly 50,000 people

By Guest


By Lara Diaconu, vice president of Health Services Fund, Global Partnerships and IDB investee

Nearly two years ago, the IDB-MIF Access to Basic Services unit approved a three-year grant to Global Partnerships (GP) to help improve “access to quality health services for low-income women in Latin America.” The grant’s specific objective was “to develop and expand sustainable business models providing health services through microfinance institutions in Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador and Haiti.” 

The Accelerator, a program to accelerate businesses providing basic services to poor and low-income populations

By David Bloomgarden



Latin America and the Caribbean is making substantial progress in moving people out of poverty and providing basic services to its population. Yet, the region has not covered the “last mile” to bring accessible and quality health, education, electricity and water and sanitation to the most vulnerable households.  Its cities are the fastest growing in the world within influx of poor people demanding dependable and quality basic services while many rural regions still lack basic services.  

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