Boatmen in India, brick makers in Peru, and fishermen in the United Arab Emirates — these are just a few of the low-income entrepreneurs who make developing countries run.
While their income doesn’t always factor into the GDP, they undoubtedly contribute to the world economy. These business owners are also the ones who stand to benefit the most from microfinance, the practice of lending small amounts of money at low interest rates to those in the developing world.
It also encompasses those organisations working to improve business owners access to banks, loans, credit, and insurance.
Every year, the Consultative Group To Assist The Poor (CGAP) hosts a photo contest asking entrants to submit photos based around the idea of microfinance. The purpose of the contest is to give amateur and professional photographers a chance to show the different ways that poor households make their lives better through financial inclusion.
Housed at the World Bank, CGAP is an advocacy group that works with development agencies, foundations, and national governments to advance the lives of the poor by improving their access to microfinance. CGAP has just announced the winners to its 2014 photo contest. CGAP shared a selection of the winners with us here, but you can learn more about their organisation here.
GRAND PRIZE: This cormorant fisherman uses trained birds to fish in the river for him. He is also a local tour guide.
SECOND PRIZE: This old man maintains a gramophone repair shop in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. He earns a decent living.
THIRD PRIZE: This woman helps harvest on a farm in Tanzania. The farm is partly funded by the One Acre Fund, which helps small farmers grow their way out of poverty with training and financing.
PEOPLE'S CHOICE: An NGO has provided this man with a small boat, which he uses to take tourists around in Odisha, the poorest state in India.
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA WINNER: In Togo, these men place large nets in the water for fishing, which then need to be pulled onto the beach by dozens of people. The fish caught are small and scarce.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC WINNER: A workers carries sacks of onions from a ship to a track to be transported to Makassar Paotere, Indonesia.
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN WINNER: This Peruvian man lives in a neighbourhood of more than 200 families that are dedicated to brick manufacturing.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA WINNER: Fish net workers are common in the United Arab Emirates. Every morning, they fix nets in order to prepare for the day's catch.
SPECIAL MENTION: This tailor in Mozambique works for a school sewing uniforms, but also makes a living by sewing for other small businesses.
SPECIAL MENTION: This Vietnamese woman earns her daily wage by handling delicate ceramics at a pottery kiln.
FINALIST: Thin fish is a typical food in Tarakan, Indonesia. Many residents in the city rely on fishing for their livelihood.
FINALIST: This 80-year-old woman in the Philippines is weaving a protective shield for rain, sun, and heavy wind.
FINALIST: These men in Indonesia work hand in hand to put this ship's rope to the pier. Metal ships are then deconstructed and scraps recycled.
FINALIST: These women in Vietnam must traverse the dunes each day to reach the market to sell their goods.
FINALIST: This Indonesian man works on a limestone mountain in a small town. He uses a hammer and a crowbar to scrape the limestone to make brick for houses.
FINALIST: This Vietnamese man may have lost an arm, but he still makes pottery to support his family.
FINALIST: Thousands of poor men and women in Bangladesh collect and recycle plastic to earn their living. The plastic pieces are then dried and sold to manufacturers.
FINALIST: This man lives in a small village in Tripura, India, making a living by working on others' fields or cultivating his own small crop. Here, he carries a bundle of his own crops.
FINALIST: This man works in the hills to mine calcium stone and sand that are sold as building materials.
FINALIST: This Indian woman works her traditional daily job, while her son plays with new technology.
FINALIST: This couple has weaved baskets for generations. When they are done, they bring them to the market to sell.
FINALIST: This man works long hours in a factory in Bangladesh. His wage has increased slowly over the years, but he is not financially independent.
FINALIST: This brick factory in India was formed with the help of rural bank. The factory is helping local people with jobs and creating industrial development.
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