The Indian School of Microfinance for Women (ISMW), started in June 2003, is an initiative in microfinance which is promoted to address the capacity building requirements in the sector. The School particularly focuses upon the lives of women who are the primary participants in microfinance interventions. Microfinance is perceived by the School not only as a means of poverty alleviation but also as a means for women’s leadership and the building of women’s assets.
India has a rich variety of microfinance initiatives though varying models each of whom have capacity building requirements. Particularly, there is an identifiable need for quality training in vernacular languages. Research is also an integral requirement to understand the trajectory of the sector and its corresponding capacity building requirements. The School is positioned to address these capacity building needs especially responding to the changing nature of the sector.
The Citi Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL), housed in the School was launched on September 10th, 2005. It is dedicated towards spreading Financial Literacy, which is one of the niche areas of the School. The main objective of CCFL is, "spreading Financial Literacy amongst the poor, especially women by building their financial awareness, knowledge and skill to enable them to manage their finances and thereby making them financially self-reliant and provide them better and secured future". The School works with 17 partners to spread financial literacy.
The mandate of the School, based in Ahmedabad, is to work nationally and internationally. Currently the School works with partners throughout India.
The School’s uniqueness stems from being one of the first institutions drawing upon the best of the indigenous knowledge and the expertise to a common forum, from where it can be disseminated and made available for the microfinance sector.