In February 2010, I was selected to go to the Philippines with a scholarship by the German government’s ASA scholarship. This included not only a three-month field study in the Philippines from August to November 2010, but also two preparation seminars in Germany.
With my project partner Sarah, I was placed at the Cebu City office of AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation, a German organisation implementing developing projects in the Philippines on behalf of the German government. There, we did research on microfinance as a possible service by the chambers of commerce and industry in the Visayas and Caraga regions.
Soon, our focus shifted to the question wether it actually makes sense for local chambers of commerce and industry to offer microfinance services. After initial desk studies to gain theoretical insights into the Philippine microfinance scene, we conducted interviews with chambers, microfinance institutions, government agencies and microentrepreneurs on Cebu, Negros, Siquior, Samar, Luzon and Mindanao.
Finally, we wrote up our findings in a 40-page research report and held a workshop in Cebu City for interested stakeholders, sharing our conclusion that chambers of commerce should stay clear of the lending business and rather focus on offering service from the non-financial aspect of microfinance, e.g. trainings and market linkages.
Read the research report:
research report & workshop documentation | 2010 | English
Assessment of whether local chambers of commerce and industry in the Philippines should offer microfinance services.