Maggie Thomann | Associate of Human Asset Management
Launched in the early 1980s, the Grameen Bank, the world's first microfinance institution, was created in Bangladesh to help entrepreneurs there get a head start on their businesses and avoid the high interest rates that larger banks enforced. The clear impact of this early microfinance institution was seen nearly 30 years later when its founder won the Nobel Peace Prize and the bank was purported to have lent out $7.6 billion. The Grameen Bank, however, obviously didn't have nearly as many marketing or advertising opportunities as the Internet currently offers in its beginning stages. With the increasing rise in the use of technology and its unrelenting presence, it is only natural to assume that utilizing technology, particularly social media, in order to aid a microfinance organization in its development is an important aspect of the microfinance organization. Here, at JIFFI, we believe that the power of social media is of the utmost importance.
Take Kiva for example: Kiva, created in 2004, is the first online people-to-people microfinance organization that allows users to see exactly how the money they lend out is being used. It updates the user on the activities of the entrepreneur they are helping and it allows the user to reinvest that money into more loans after being paid back. The power behind Kiva is that it connects people from one side of the globe to another through its online interface.
In the same way, by campaigning for JIFFI's mission through social media, JIFFI is able to spread its purpose not just through St. Joseph's County and the South Bend community, but through many different areas of the world as well.
Maggie is a freshman studying computer science. Aside from JIFFI, Maggie works with the Society of Women Engineers and Engineers without Borders.