For their senior year research project Amy Zhu and Pauline Mnev, students at Poolesville High School in Maryland, immediately thought of microfinance. As members of their school’s global ecology magnet program they wanted to look at the effectiveness of microcredit in empowering women, promoting sustainable businesses and reducing population growth and the strain that it places on natural resources. Their digging quickly led them to FINCA and the treasure trove of data that FINCA provides.
While they came into the exercise with a purely scholarly intent, as Amy and Pauline deepened their understanding of how microfinance works and read stories of the individuals FINCA helps they decided that they should do more than just conduct research. Struck by FINCA’s commitment to women’s empowerment they decided to raise money to support FINCA’s mission as well. And they also felt the need to raise awareness for microfinance in their community.
To raise money Amy and Pauline organized several fundraisers where they sold handmade scrunchies. Meanwhile to raise awareness the duo proposed implementing a microcredit program for small and family-run farms in their community. The Montgomery Countryside Alliance took interest in Amy and Pauline’s idea and may implement it in the future to help farmers get access to necessary loans.
As Amy and Pauline enter the next phase of their lives, we at FINCA are confident that their passion for the environment and for women’s empowerment will remain strong.