Ingrid Munro

Ingrid Munro is featured in the second night of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

 

Ingrid Munro is Swedish and worked for eight years for the Swedish government in the bureau of housing research. She then began her career as an advocate for the poor in Kenya, pressing for their right to housing, as a staff member of Habitat and the head of African Housing Fund, an advocacy group for the homeless.

 

In 1999, upon Munro's retirement, she founded Jamii Bora along with 50 homeless women, loaning them twice as much as they agreed to save. It is the fastest-growing microfinance institution in Kenya in reaching the poor. As a leader and advocate of microfinance in one of the poorest and most dangerous areas in Africa, Munro has provided a way out of poverty for nearly 250,000 people.

Munro said she came to know the women after she and her husband, a Canadian, adopted a boy who had lived on the street, and then his two brothers, beginning in 1988. The New Yorker quotes her as saying, "It was a small 7-year-old boy who more or less adopted us...And then we later found his two brothers and adopted them. With a situation like that, like in all great love stories, in literature and in real life, you are a helpless victim, you know?"