“All these businesses, street vendors and agricultural farmers – they are very very dynamic, which allows you and pushes you to learn beyond just the standard financial services of savings and loans. You have to be much more creative because of the fragility of the people, the community, the households that you are working with, and the infrastructures that are supporting them.” ~ Meynar Sihombing



Listen to the conversation:

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About this interview:


How can business and finance empower communities to grow and thrive?

In this episode Amisha meets with microfinance expert Meynar Sihombing. After a successful career in commercial banking, Meynar found an opportunity to change direction after the Asian financial crisis. Seeking to utilise her skills for greater humanitarian impact, Meynar studied international development in Japan, which led her to a new career in microfinance for development.

Meynar shares with us some of the challenges and opportunities for low-income and rural households in Indonesia, the particular characteristics of the Indonesiam socioeconomic context, and how microfinance is evolving products and services to meet these needs.

Meynar speaks about the need for responsible microfinance as part of an ecosystem of support services for low-income households, the young generation of impact entrepreneurs who are rising to meet socioeconomic challenges in Indonesia, and how microfinance helped households in Aceh rebuild their lives in the wake of the devastating 2004 tsunami.

“Educating the people, community, households – the borrowers – is critical, and educating the financial institutions in responsible finance is also critical.” ~ Meynar Sihombing

Meynar is passionate about collaborating with others to empower women and low income communities. She started her career as a commercial banker and graduated with an MA in International Development from the International University of Japan in 2002. She was awarded the Joint Japan-World Bank Graduate Scholarship for her studies there.

Meynar has over 20 years of experience in financing and developing sustainable financial models within SDG related sectors, including water and sanitation, health, agriculture, and sustainable food and commodity supply chains. She has more than a decade of expert level experience in micro-finance and SME development, including senior level positions with the IFC, Mercy Corps, and other International NGOs.

Following the Aceh Tsunami in 2004, she worked to support revitalization of the Acehnese economy by helping the micro and small business sectors recover, thus generating long-term employment and strengthening local economic actors.

Meynar specializes in finance and business development, and is a strong advocate and promoter of start-ups in product development, distribution and venture solutions for young entrepreneurs. Meynar has worked with and empowered hundreds of Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) both within Indonesia and abroad.

To find out more about Meynar’s work in Indonesia visit bina-artha.com

To connect or work with Amisha, visit amisha.co.uk

Links from this episode:

Alam Santi – Sustainable Design (Petra Schneider)

Gaia Visual – Photography and Visual Storytelling (Jonathan Perugia)

Taman Petu Eco Neighbourhood

Melissa Loh

Muhammad Yunus

Grameen Bank

Experimental Thought Co

Human // Nature // Stories – Event on 29th Feb – London

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