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Three of the four papers in this collection were originally presented at a meeting of the NGO study group of the Development Studies Association. The aim was to explore the similarities and differences between microfinance experiences in various countries, and the extent to which lessons from successful microfinance schemes in the South could be relevant and helpful for practice in the North. The message which emerges from these papers is the importance of the specific situation in which a microfinance scheme operates, and the need for caution in transferring models developed in a particular context to a different one. What can be shared are strategies that cape with diversity and difference, that are based on adaptation and learning through doing, and that are grounded in a common understanding of what it means to struggle for change in one’s own society.

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