International Development Law Organization (IDLO)

Semester: 2010 Fall

Students: Ellen Wheeler, Lee Brand, Bridget DeVoy

Microfinance is a fast growing industry and means for people in developing countries to improve their economic conditions. The growth in microfinance activity has resulted in a proliferation of disputes between borrowers and lenders, where typically borrowers lack the education and financial resources to access the courts, and lenders see the courts as slow and inefficient. Can an effective alternative to the court system be implemented for the microfinance industry in Egypt to aid the industry and lead to better consumer protection for borrowers?

Students will work with the International Development Law Organization’s (IDLO)consumer protection initiative to assess the feasibility of implementing a dispute resolution system in the microfinance market in Alexandria, Egypt, and identify potential forms for such a system and challenges to implementation. In doing so, students will work directly with stakeholders, including microfinance institutions, borrowers, government agencies, and international organizations.

Our Work

Step 1: Detailed background research on the Egyptian legal framework and Alexandria microfinance market, focusing on a few key lending institutions and their borrower base.

Step 2: Interviews and focus groups to assess the types of disputes occurring in the microfinance market and current dispute resolution mechanisms and stakeholders’ receptiveness and understanding of alternative approaches.

Step 3: Formulation of recommendations regarding feasibility and desirability of an alterative dispute resolution system, and possible methods for implementation.

Final Product

A report for presentation to IDLO, government organizations and possibly an international conference outlining recommendations for or against the implementation of a pilot ADR for the Alexandria microfinance market.

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