the Wake of Natural
Microfinance in the Wake of Natural Disasters:
Challenges and Opportunities
Development Alternatives, Inc.
This work was supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Global Bureau,
Economic Growth Section, Microenterprise Development Office, through funding to the
Microenterprise Best Practices (MBP) Project, contract number PCE-C-00-96-90004-00.
Dr. Geetha Nagarajan is a research specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics, The Ohio
State University. For the past eight years, she has been engaged in research on formal and informal
financial markets in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Ghana, Swaziland, Gambia,
Uganda, Romania, and Uzbekistan. She also has been a consultant to FAO, ILO, and USAID; her ILO
consultancy resulted in a discussion paper on the role of microfinance in conflict-affected countries.
I am enormously indebted to the many individuals and organizations that made this research
possible. I owe a great deal to Joan Parker at DAI for her continuous support, encouragement, and
perceptive comments at various stages of the research. It was a delight to work with her. This version of
the paper significantly benefited from Joan’s Midas touch. Thanks also are due to Robin Young of DAI,
who kept me on track by efficiently coordinating communications between me, the USAID reviewers, and
the DAI staff. I also thank Elaine Edgcomb of SEEP, for the concept paper that helped guide this research
and a parallel paper on microfinance in post-conflict areas, and Karen Doyle of SEEP for her friendship.
I am thankful to Mike Goldberg, CGAP, and Annica Jansen, USAID, for their careful reading of
the draft and their very sharp and thoughtful comments, which helped revise the paper.
I am highly indebted to my senior colleagues at Ohio State University; specifically, Profs. Richard
L. Meyer, Claudio Gonzalez-Vega, and Dougla