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Debating Microfinance

  1. Introduction (15 minutes): Participants are asked if they know anything about microfinance. Any knowledge or ideas on the topic can be told to the group. The participants are given a sheet with information about microfinance and its possible implications for people living in poverty. They are to have a read of the sheet.
  2. Leaders split the participants into four groups. Two groups are to take a positive view of microfinance (ie that it is highly useful in the fight against poverty) and the other two groups will take a negative view of microfinance (ie that it does not represent a useful solution in the fight against poverty). Each group is given 15 minutes to come up with persuasive arguments to back up their opinion. There is information provided with this activity that could be of some use to the participants in doing this [attached].
  3. Once the groups have had time to come up with some persuasive arguments and gathered their thoughts, leaders pair each pro microfinance group with one anti microfinance group, so that two debates can take place. In the debates, each side has ten minutes to justify their assigned view on microfinance as a tool for escaping poverty. The pro side speaks first, then the anti microfinance group also has ten minutes in which to put across their view. The ten minutes per team and question time should be timed so groups have a fair amount of time each. The debates run simultaneously, most likely in different places so as not to disturb each other. A leader can act as a chairperson in the debate, or if a participant would like to do so then that is a possibility. After each group has put forward their views, then there can be a time for members of the teams to pose questions to members of the oppostion. The chairperson is also welcome to pose questions. (Ten minutes per team, then ten minutes of questions: 30 minutes)
  4. The groups reconvene together. Participants will be given paper and pens and will be asked individually to write down, in their opinion, the top three arguments for and against microfinance as a manner in which poverty could be relieved. They should draw upon their group’s arguments, and what they heard from the team that presented the opposite view in their debate, and their own knowledge. Hopefully they will be able to write down things that they did not know about before. (15 minutes) If there is more time, or perhaps later on in the week, then there could be another set of debates, except this time opinions could be reversed. Pro teams will now be anti microfinance, and will debate against a team that they did not debate against last time.
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