Why is information about pre-Islamic Near Eastern religious heritage, imperial rivalries, and Arabian tribalism relevant for understanding the history of the beginnings of Islam?
the quality of life.’ They also explain that host organisations must ‘have the means to meet your needs’ – and since ‘in the third world, that alone is a huge and costly challenge (eliabroad.org)’ volunteers are expected to pay up to $3000 per project, depending on where it is. For example volunteering in Uganda on a microfinance project costs $1520 for a 12 week placement, and volunteers on this project are required to stay for a minimum of 6 weeks. The fact that ELI are offering placements in microfinance is a major cause for concern and requires a deeper, more critical analysis. First of all it is important to understand what microfinance is and its history. 30 years ago the international development community was elated with the prospect of a new, market-affirming solution to ending poverty in developing countries. Us-educated Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus’ idea of microfinance would, in his words “rapidly eradicate endemic poverty and under-development by creating jobs, raising incomes and include previously excluded groups (notably women) in economic activity’ (Bateman, 2015:1). The UN backed microfinance, nominating 2005 as the ‘Year of Microcredit’ and then United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan stated that “microfinance has proved its value, in many countries, as a weapon against poverty and hunger. It really can change peoples’ lives for the better” (un.org). Yunus believed his goal would be reached by bringing capitalism to the poor, and in 1983 established his “bank for the poor”; the Grameen Bank. For the neoliberal orientated WorldBank and USAID, the ideology behind microfinance resonated with their obsession of promoting self-help, individualism and entrepreneurship as the only way poor people could ever escape poverty. ELI fail to explain the concept of microfinance on their Uganda project page, instead, offering the potential volunteer an explanation of how Yunus, who was eventually ousted from his position and accused of tax avoidance as well as other crimes (theguardian.com), won the Nobel Peace Prize and that Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) have had ‘mixed results–a few have been very successful while others struggle to survive’ (eliabroad.org). However they do have a page linked to a project in Mexico where they frame microfinance in such a way that the potential volunteer can comprehend in relative terms. Here it is worth quoting them at length; ‘In the States, we often say that someone “started with nothing,” but our “nothing” and Third World “nothing” are miles apart. Without education, without infrastructure, without government programs, success is virtually impossible. This is where microfinance comes in. Microfinance entails providing financial services to those that traditionally are of no interest to banks. A full-service microfinance program offers loans, savings, insurance and training to these forgotten ones’ (eliabroad.org)>GET ANSWER