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This case provides an introduction to microfinance by presenting a very common dilemma that many microfinance institutions (MFIs) are facing – the struggle of reaching the rural population, and rural women in particular. This is done specifically through the lens of Douglas Pond, Opportunity International’s (Opportunity) Chief Commercial Officer of Mozambique. In 2008, Douglas arrived in Mozambique and quickly experienced this dilemma. Upon identifying the many barriers to entry, Douglas was left with needing to make a decision.

This case challenges students to think about how one might overcome the ‘rural hurdle’ as a manager of a microfinance organization in an African country such as Mozambique. At the end of the case, students are asked to think of possible solutions to the many barriers to entry. Students are encouraged to tease out what they believe is the best possible solution; defending it by thinking critically on how the solution addresses the barriers outlined in the case. Additionally, it encourages students to begin thinking about how they would actually address the many challenges that businesses face in the developing world. This teaching note offers nine different creative solutions to the dilemma that students may come up with and provides pros and cons for each through the lenses of Douglas. Finally, this teaching note provides the instructor with Douglas Pond’s actual feedback after he finished his work with Opportunity Mozambique, six years later, and ultimately offers tangible learning points for students interested in this industry.


16 pages
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