Twenty-three students in Japan have successfully completed the sixth round of the MFTOT course. Fourteen have been accredited as MFTOT trainers.
They are now eligible to serve as tutors for subsequent MFTOT courses. The majority of these graduates say they are eager to tutor future courses—or to educate others in their own microfinance education programs.
Some have ambitious plans that go beyond teaching others about microfinance.
One graduate works for a non-profit organization that helps refugees living in Japan.
“I want to establish a microfinance institution in Japan,” she said. Although MFTOT 6 focused on microfinance in the context of informal economies in developing countries, this graduate expressed a desire to take on the challenge to apply the concept to Japan. “By working to improve the livelihood of refugees through microfinance, I want to help these refugees to help themselves.”
Turdakun Tashbolotov, a major in International Development, is interested in sustainable development.
“The knowledge I obtained through this course is crucial in designing and implementing new ways of poverty reduction—through microfinance, especially in my home country, Kyrgyzstan,” he said. Turdakun joined the course with no prior knowledge of microfinance and found the learning material “easy to understand and the tutor very helpful.”
“During the local sessions organized by Tokyo Development Learning Center, I had a wonderful opportunity to meet other participants with experience and great enthusiasm in microfinance. The group discussions were an invaluable source of information and knowledge. I was glad to know that this course is being translated, and I hope one day, people in Central Asia will be able to study this in their native language.”
An Indonesian participant who wishes to remain anonymous currently works for a commercial bank in Japan. He explained signing up for the course after being inspired by the works of Muhammad Yunus, founder of a Bangladeshi microfinance institution, Grameen Bank.
Prior to the start of the course, he visited Bangladesh to see the activities of the bank for himself.
“I’m eager to apply what I’ve learned in the course to help the situation of the poor people in my home country,” he said.
Overall, course participants here in Tokyo offered positive feedback on MFTOT 6. The majority of them said they expected to be able to apply what they had learned in the course to their current jobs.
A Japanese student who currently works as a development agency consultant explained that she could use her new learning on the operation of a microfinance institution and sustainability when she did research for official development assistance.
Another student in development said the course will prove to be helpful in “evaluating the activities of microfinance institutions,” and when “considering aid to microfinance institutions”.
Our graduates have various intentions on how to apply what they’ve learned in the course. A retired investment banker is interested in contributing money to microfinance institutions. “What I have learned is helpful for due diligence,” she said.
Whatever their plans and aspirations, however their involvement in microfinance may be, the new MFTOT 6 graduates have one thing is common—a desire to study more about microfinance.