Third Sector Review special issue,

“Microfinance: A ‘Magic Bullet’ for Poverty Alleviation and Empowerment?” 

In contemporary times microfinance is promoted by powerful organisations, such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank, as a cutting edge financial innovation that has the potential to meet specified development ends and goals, such as poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. Indeed, the UN officially declared 2005 as the ‘International Year of Microfinance’. However, research on the impact of microfinance is often conflicting, with certain studies providing evidence of the empowering effects of microfinance, and other studies analysing its disempowering potentials. Such conflicting perspectives challenge the “magic bullet” notion of microfinance, and illustrate the richness of research in this field. In celebration of this diversity, this special issue calls for papers on financial inclusion and microfinance practices in the third sector from a range of different academic disciplines, and fields of practice in the region and beyond. We invite critically informed studies that examine microfinance both in the context of its empowering and disempowering prospects.

Questions that may be addressed include, but are not limited to:

  • Accounting and accountability tensions in microfinance organisations.
  • The role of microfinance in poverty alleviation and (dis)empowering women.
  • Issues in relation to management and governance in microfinance organisations.
  • Historical evaluations of the practice of microfinance.
  • Insights into undertaking research and research engagement within microfinance organisations.
  • Policy and regulatory issues in microfinance initiatives.
  • The roles of the third sector in fostering entrepreneurship.
  • Multifaceted cultural understandings of microfinance, including indigenous perspectives.

Articles may be framed around a particular type of microfinance practice or an organisation. We encourage both conceptual and empirical contributions, including comparative analyses, case study research, survey research and theoretical contributions. In light of TSR’s commitment to including voices from the field, we also invite contributions from practitioners.

This issue will be edited by guest editors Dr. Farzana Aman Tanima (University of Wollongong, Australia) and Dr. Nunung Nurul Hidayah (Aston Business School, United Kingdom).

A full article of up to 6,000 words should be forwarded to both and and be marked ‘TSR special issue’ by 15th October 2017. The special issue will be published in November 2018. Guidelines on contributions are here (link to

Prior special issues have included:

Volume 22 No 2 (2016) and biennially before that – ANZTSR Conference issues
2017, Volume 23 No 1 – Volunteering as a subject for Research
2008, Volume 14 No 2 – The Third Sector and Communication
2006, Volume 12 No 2 – Sport and the Third Sector
2004, Volume 10 No 2 – Co-operatives, Co-operation and the Social Economy
2003, Volume 9 No 2 – Doing Third Sector Research
2002, Volume 8 No 1- Charity Law in the Pacific Rim
2001, Volume 7 No 2 – Third Sector as Voice
1997, Volume 3 – Contracting For Care