Laura Claus first traveled to Tanzania as a volunteer with Villages for Africa (VFA), a Dutch organization that won recognition from the United Nations in 2014 for helping rural communities establish locally owned enterprises. VFA pioneered macro loans, a lending mechanism for villages designed to spur rural economic development while avoiding some of the pitfalls of microcredit lending to individuals. Claus, a first-year doctoral student at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, was interested in poverty, social entrepreneurship, and social innovation, and as a volunteer in Tanzania she interviewed staff and villagers.
She shared the preliminary data she had collected with fellow scholar Royston Greenwood, whom she met in the early days of her program. He encouraged her to gather more. What began as volunteer work eventually turned into a case study of the collapse of a seemingly successful social enterprise. How did VFA dissolve after the tremendous initial success of its macro-credit initiative?
A new paper by Claus, now a professor in the Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University College London School of Management; Greenwood, a professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Organization at the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta; and John Mgoo, who is based in Babati, Tanzania, and has worked for several NGOs, examines the rise and fall of VFA and how it affected the village enterprises it supported. Their findings have profound implications for foreign organizations working in local contexts.
To read more on the article titled “Lending in the Shadow of Colonialism” click here.