Capacity Building of Women and Youth as Trainers, Consultants and Evaluators

Consulting ServicesHow would you recognize an IDEAS training or technical assistance team? It has at least one younger female professional with a passport from a developing country teamed with older professional. Why do we always promote co-facilitators when other agencies send just one trainer?

Despite the fact that we have internationally recognized experts from North America or Europe who could easily do a job alone, we do not send them alone. Why?

IDEAS believes it is critically important for women and men from developing countries to become experts in microfinance, microenterprise development and other topics, to better understand and meet the needs of their clients, and to become recognized evaluators in their own region.

We invest in capacity training of younger persons, especially women. Even if a non-profit organization or financial institution that hires us only pays for one person, we take two team members, one of whom is a developing country national, and pay for that person out of the fee paid to the more experienced person. Why do we make this financial sacrifice? Because we do not want to miss the opportunity for mentoring young people. We believe that the team will be stronger because of its diversity, and we want to give the less experienced person a chance to learn so that she or he can later lead a team.

Our female trainers and consultants often provide professional services to older male managers. This sometimes causes initial concern in countries where patriarchal traditions are strong. In Guatemala, for example, the senior managers of one organization, who were all male, would say, “the women of IDEAS recommended this,” as a way to signal to their peers a lower importance of our evaluators’ recommendations for needed change in their organization. But the managers soon came to appreciate that we had brought persons who might have been less well known and of a different gender than the common “management consultant” but who were able to provide new insights to their organization and new products that would be more attractive to their clients.

Microfranchising ConsultingIDEAS provides training and field work opportunities for younger consultants and trainers, especially those from developing countries, to develop their skills to help managers to better assist their poor clients. We do this by:

  • Placing special emphasis on capacity building of female consultants and trainers from developing countries.
  • Arranging training and field work opportunities for younger consultants, accompanying more experienced mentors.
  • Developing and teaching academic programs for students in international development as well as managers of microfinance institutions who are working on graduate degrees.
  • Providing training programs oriented to the specific needs of practitioners, ranging from senior managers to field staff.
  • Developing multi-course annual training institutes in a particular region.

IDEAS welcomes donations for these capacity building activities. A family foundation in the state of Georgia whose directors are all women provided IDEAS with years of funding to improve the capacity of younger women professionals affiliated with two of our Central American offices. One of them later got a full-time job running the regional office of a major MFI in El Salvador. Others who received our training and mentoring emerged from unemployment or underemployment to become respected consultants in Central American countries. One woman who had been seeking a full-time job for months in the formal sector of El Salvador finds great fulfillment in working for IDEAS to help other underemployed women find consulting and training jobs. We are privileged to help those who are in a position to hire consultants or staff to discover the talents of people who have been overlooked in the formal job market.

Microfranchising Training

IDEAS helps your organization learn how to do microfranchising

Colombian 4 women-raising-handsIDEAS is a 35 year old international development organization that has worked for decades in women’s enterprise development. It also has evaluated over 100 women’s programs in Latin America, Africa, Asia and North America. It has found a critical problem with the lack of growth on low-income women’s enterprises. Just a small percentage of women grow their microenterprises to become small enterprises and an even smaller percentage make the transition from small to medium size enterprises. IDEAS views microfranchising as a possible solution to more rapidly replicate and grow women’s businesses. The replication numbers in Asia are particularly impressive. Started in Asia and later in Africa, microfranchising has had success with helping poor women get into new businesses quickly. It has not really spread to Latin America. IDEAS has been encouraging the growth in Central America through training and technical assistance. It decided another example was needed in the region so, even though IDEAS did not have many funds for a start-up, it decided to become the microfranchisor to pilot the first microfranchise in Nicaragua, TecAp.

Microfranchising IDEAS brochure
English Español

IDEAS’ brochure concisely explains the concept, advantages and how IDEAS can help you start.

Trainings offered to organizations that want to understand how microfranchising can more rapidly expand the number of women’s microfranchises and help them grow.

IDEAS has trained organizations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and people from many countries in a REDCAMIF Conference in Costa Rica in microfranchise development. IDEAS did two presentations after being invited by the Salvadoran governmental agency CONAMYPE, the National Commission  of Micro and Small Enterprises.

Types of training and technical assistance services on microfranchising that IDEAS offers to potential microfranchisors as well as a microfranchise.  IDEAS can assist:

  • If your organization or corporation is exploring in potentially being a microfranchisor.
  • If you have a microfranchise and need assistance with increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of microfranchisees.

Academic courses on microfranchising taught by IDEAS

IDEAS is one of the few organizations providing academic training on microfranchising. This education is based on years of study of different microfranchises on three continents. It has offered graduate school courses at American University (UAM) in Managua, Nicaragua as part of its Masters in Microfinance. Dr. Garber taught a graduate course at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana for 6 years. He also offered a seminar at Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, North Carolina. A course was taught at the Universidad de Centro America in Managua, Nicaragua. If you are interested in learning more about academic courses on microfranchising, contact IDEAS.

Universities where IDEAS has taught

IDEAS team members have developed and taught academic courses at universities around the world.

  • Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA): El Salvador
    Since Dr. Garber has served as Visiting Professor at UC. He teaches multiple intensive courses each year to both students and professionals from a wide variety of organizations, governments, microfinance institutions, etc.
    Download our guide to learn about UCA faculty research areas, our international exchange program, and more.
  • Georgia State University: United States
  • Tulane University: United States
    As an Adjunct Professor, Dr. Garber has visited Tulane to teach four to five courses annually for the last six years.
  • School of International Studies, American University: United States
    Dr. Garber taught courses at American University throughout the late 1990s, and most recently in 2014.
  • Universidad Americana: Nicaragua
    Dr. Garber taught in the Universidad Americana’s Master of Microfinance Program.
  • Southern New Hampshire University: United States
  • University of Limpompo: South Africa
  • Open University: Tanzania
  • Don Bosco University: El Salvador
  • National University of Mongolia: Mongolia
  • Universidad Católica: Honduras
  • University of Maryland: United States
    From 2003 to 2006, Dr. Garber served as Researcher, Lead Trainer, and Member of the Advisory Panel on Poverty Assessment Tools for the Institute for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector of the University Research Corporation International of the University of Maryland. The project was associated with the university’s Economics Department.
  • University of Limpopo: South Africa (Formerly the University of the North)
    As Visiting Professors in 2004, two IDEAS faculty members taught courses for the university’s Microenterprise and Development Certificate.
  • School for Community Economic Development, Southern New Hampshire University: United States
  • Microfinance Management Institute, University of Mongolia: Mongolia
    Between 2000 and 2004, IDEAS faculty members served on the doctoral committees of several students working on enterprise development and microfinance.

Additional educational collaborations:

Equipping Women Professionals in Microfinance/Microenterprise
With funding from the Bancker-Williams Foundation from 2002 to 2005, IDEAS offered opportunities for young women in Nicaragua and El Salvador to receive advanced training and opportunities to develop professional skills.

Rural Finance
IDEAS faculty members developed a graduate-level course for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.

Need more information? Please contact Dr. Carter Garber at

Teaching Graduate Courses internationally

IDEAS has been developing curriculum for graduate education in microfinance in different parts of the world. Curricula include following academic courses

Microfinance courses

  • Principles and practices of microfinance
  • Using client feedback to improve microfinance products and services
  • Designing microfinance institutions to reach the poor
  • Managing growth and transformation: institutional options

Microenterprise courses

  • Introduction to microenterprise lending methodologies
  • Introduction to market development services for microenterprise development

Development Finance

  • Principles and practices in community economic development
  • Rural Finance: reach the poor in remote areas
  • Development finance

Creating professional and academic institutes

  IDEAS has designed training institutes composed of a series of courses

creating professional and academic institutionsIn addition to IDEAS team being excellent trainers and professors, IDEAS has become know as the designer of academic or professional training institutes involving multiple courses over a several week period.

IDEAS created the Microenterprise & Development Institute (MDI) in 1998 to increase skills level of practitioners in financial systems and business development services. The curriculum focused on the practical skills microfinance practitioners need for successful program implementation. One of the things that distinguishes the IDEAS design from that of other training institutes is that MDI participants had the option of earning Academic Credit through Southern New Hampshire University.

Each June for 11 years, the Microenterprise Development Institute at Southern New Hampshire University brought about 85 leaders in microfinance from around the world to take three weeks of courses in specialized areas of microfinance and business development services. Dr. Garber was the chair of the Advisory Board and others IDEAS members, Dr. Puneetha Palakurthi and Gaamaa Hishigsuren, served on the Board and taught in the Institute.

IDEAS was an Institute sponsor and assisted in the formation of a similar training in Africa called the Microenterprise and Development Certificate Program. IDEAS team members, like Dr. Garber and Dr. Hishigsuren, taught at MDC in South Africa for several years. This program is now called the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program and was run by the the Carsay Institute at the University of New Hampshire. 

IDEAS also assisted with the design  of an institute for the Arab World in a contract with the Sanabel Network. We worked on this project with MicroServe, a team of Arab consultants in microfinance.

Sample of Trainings in English and in Latin America

The IDEAS Team has trained over 1500 staff people from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America and over 2000 in Latin America. Please click the buttons below that illustrates the variety of training topics, types of participants, and clients and sponsors in different countries.

Sample Trainings in English Sample Trainings in Latin America