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photo: m. emerson

M O V E R S AND SHAPERS
MUCH DEMANDED
photo: m. emerson

EMILY ROOT: MIND ON MICROFINANCE
MAJOR Business administration and international development studies International business consultant, living in the U.S. and traveling frequently abroad Law school while working at an international company A good book, a loved one close by, and sunshine “God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible – what a pity that we plan only the things we can do by ourselves. ” – A.W. Tozer DREAM JOB

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sing an innovative, costeffective building design to construct affordable

experience, is microfinance, a practice of offering small loans and financial services to people in developing countries who cannot qualify for traditional bank loans. The loans help the borrowers start or improve small businesses. Microfinance, also sometimes called microenterprise or microcredit, gained attention when Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his microfinance work. “My desire to use my life to help address poverty was influenced by my experience as a missionary
Rob Gailey

housing in an impoverished country – sounds like the work of a well-funded international nonprofit organization. But Rob Gailey, director of PLNU’s Armenian Center for International Development, and his partner, adjunct professor and PLNU supporter George Fermanian, hope that PLNU students will be at the ground level of business start-ups that may transform the housing sector in Armenia and other developing countries. “Armenia is like a laboratory for us, Gailey said. “Not only can we ” learn from what we do in Armenia, but in such a small country, we can have a big impact. ” Armenia’s highly educated population is extremely poor and has suffered through genocide, decades of communism, and earthquakes that have left many without homes. An upcoming spring LoveWorks trip, co-sponsored by the Armenian Center, will focus on building two model homes to serve as the beginnings of a sustainable, ethical business. The project will use concrete-filled foam blocks as its main construction material, providing excellent insulation, durability, and seismic stability at a low cost. The Armenia housing project is just one effort Gailey hopes will be replicated elsewhere. His other passion, based on years of

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iving internationally, rubbing elbows with a Nobel Prize winner, helping run a center – senior Emily Root is making the most of her time at Point Loma, helping to shape the

Emily found that her time in Rwanda opened her eyes to both the benefits and current challenges facing microfinance and other types of socially responsible business in Africa. “One challenge is how to measure benefits that are ‘more than the

university that’s shaping her right back. For example, Emily effectively pioneered a new approach to study abroad. Wanting to gain international work experience at the same time, she found a study abroad program in Rwanda and Uganda through Food for the Hungry that would allow her to do both. The program, called Go-Ed, was running through several other CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) schools. Because “I think informing people here about microfinance would create a more genuine connection and greater accountability. Investors would provide an incentive for nonprofits to be more efficient. I see so much potential in this kind of relationship, Emily said. ” Emily wants to make clear that she knows her thoughts are ideas, not absolute answers. “I’m only 20, and I’m still learning, she said. “I didn’t find answers, ” but I think I did learn how to ask better questions. Real life isn’t clean like theories, so I think having good questions is more ” important than having conclusions at this point. With her thoughtful mind and heart for meeting needs, Emily is sure to continue asking questions that will help others. In the meantime, when she isn’t studying or working at the Armenian Center, Emily is likely to be found helping the Planned Giving office, participating in a church Bible study, or perhaps attending a SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) meeting (she was president of the group last year). -C.S. bottom line,’” she explained. “Part of the goal of microfinance is to empower people, but that’s not easy to calculate. Emily hopes ” business people from countries like the U.S. will invest in microfinance projects, creating greater sustainability.

kid, said Gailey, who spent six ” and a half years of his childhood in Swaziland, Africa, where his parents were Nazarene missionaries. The contrast between how he was perceived in Swaziland – as one of the wealthiest individuals – and in the U.S. – as a poor missionary kid who sacrificed everything – was unsettling. His experiences in Swaziland fostered in him a deep concern for poor people at a young age. A business major, Gailey became interested in alleviating poverty through business during college. His specific focus on microfinance came during a year-and-a-halflong missionary assignment running a vocational school in Malawi, Africa. While the assignment was “very frustrating” and challenging overall, a lunch with a colleague from World Relief (a church-run organization that happened to rent space from the

school he was running) introduced Gailey to microfinance. Right away, it captured his interest. Gailey returned to Nazarene Theological Seminary, where he was a master of divinity student, and did an honors thesis on the subject. Eventually, he was hired as a research director at the Microcredit Summit Campaign in Washington D.C., where his wife, Wanda, was attending graduate school. When they left D.C., Gailey spent almost six years working for World Relief’s microfinance technical unit before coming to PLNU in 2005. Knowing that God has blessed him, Gailey’s goal is to be a blessing to both students and to people living in poverty. His life verse, Luke 12:48, states, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded. ” In addition to directing the Armenian Center, Gailey is a professor in the Fermanian School

of Business. He teaches nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, and theories of economic development and urges students to apply their business knowledge to issues of poverty. “I encourage them to use their best skills now to help with international development. I tell them not to wait until they’ve made lots of money and just write a check, but to use their minds, connections, and best ideas now to address, and to help the church address, the complex challenges of poverty, he said. ” That attitude of using business skills to solve practical problems of poverty is something he is living out with the affordable housing project in Armenia. And for the students who accompany him on the LoveWorks trip, it’s something they will get to see firsthand and something they hopefully won’t soon forget. -C.S.

Point Loma’s approach to study abroad is flexible and accommodating, she received approval to participate in the program, making her the first Point Loma student to do so. The program, which included courses on African traditional religion, postcolonial literature, development economics, and peace-building and genocide, took place in fall 2006 and concluded with a month-long internship. Emily took the initiative to go to Rwanda two months early, leaving in June 2006 on her own. She spent the time before classes started interning with the microfinance arm of World Relief, a nonprofit organization, to which PLNU’s Armenian Center for International Development director, Rob Gailey, connected her. Part of Emily’s inspiration for going to Africa and interning in microfinance (the practice of making small loans to very poor people) was the opportunity she and eight other PLNU students had to attend a global microfinance conference in Los Angeles, where they met Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. “I had previous missions experience in Central America, and microfinance is a place where the worlds of business and missions meet. That seemed like the right fit for me, Emily said. ”

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