Monday, July 7, 2008

Dead Goats

Part of my department at FINCA just got back from Jordan for a donor massaging/ networking trip. FINCA Jordan is one of our newest offices and we are lucky that Her Majesty, Queen Rania is one of our board members. Queen Rania is known as "HMQ" around here- it's like "POTUS" for "President of the United States." I guess it's a fairly common way to refer to someone very important quickly without losing too much respect! Anyways, out of the trip emerged several stories that illustrate what microfinance organizations are up against.
The microfinance industry in Jordan has great support from donors and influential leaders such as HMQ. However, Jordan's microfinance institutions (MFIs) have apparently been squabbling a lot and the country is therefore struggling to come up with regulations and best practices because people just don't get along. These types of non-profit management problems seem to be somewhat universal! Exhibit A: The DC charter school movement. The major players are surviving and thriving despite not working together on anything, but so much more could be accomplished if they worked together.
Another story was about the very first FINCA Jordan client, who the entourage of VIP potential donors and board members visited during the trip. She used her loan to buy 5 goats. Then where she lived in Jordan had a freak snow storm (is a snow storm anywhere in Jordan a freak occurence??) and 3 goats died. Luckily HMQ heard the story and replaced the dead goats but many MF clients aren't so lucky. The industry is moving to offering more comprehensive financial services now, and some FINCA affiliates offer insurance and savings products. When the client heard that all these dignitaries were going to be visiting her she was about to slaughter a goat in celebration and had to be stopped! So she still has 5 goats.


Angela said...


I love your blog, can you tell me if a lot of students at Georgetown go into the federal government, multilateral organizations, or nonprofit work after an MBA? I think as a whole MBA students are still predominately in the private sector, but given Georgetown's location I wonder if more of the gov/nonprofit organizations recruit there, or if it's still something students have to seek out for themselves.


Chris T. said...

I wish I could say I've encountered stranger situations at work, but slaughtering goats is out there. :-)

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks — was wondering if you might be up for coffee or a beer or something to talk about MSB. I'm looking at b-schools, and MSB is on my list because of location, the Global Integrative, and stuff like microfinance. (I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but microfinance seems interesting.)

My wife and I are in the District for another month or so — I know you posted that you're gone part of August, but I'd love a chance to chat. Obviously the beer or coffee would be on me. ;-)

Drop me an email if you'd be up for it — thanks.

HairTwirler said...

angela: I have no idea whether we get "more" people going into gov and nonprofits sectors than other schools, but check out our latest employment profile: That will give you an idea of where people go. Government agencies don't generally recruit "on campus" but I think a few orgs like the FBI may do initial interviews at Georgetown. Non-profits almost never recruit "on-campus" but often send their job postings to schools that show consistent interest from the student body. I was pretty pleased with the listings on the Georgetown careers site, but I also had to do a LOT of leg work for microfinance specific jobs... although I ended up at the one that does post at Georgetown. :) Thus is the lot of those interested in non-profits as there are so many sub-categories of non-profits!

chris t: Found your email address. I should be able to meet up, I'll email soon.