> Posted by Center Staff

On April 29, 11 leaders of the disability  community sent a letter to the Smart Campaign applauding the new non-discrimination clause in the Campaign’s evolving Client Protection Principles (CPP).

Principle 4 of the proposed revised CPPs states: “Client selection and treatment should not involve discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, disability, religion or orientation. Non-discriminatory treatment is important for providing access to financial services to all clients who can use them and builds their confidence in the fairness of the provider.”

The Smart Campaign is grateful for the recognition embodied in the letter below, and salutes these leaders for keeping these issues in the forefront of this and other international campaigns.

Dear Smart Campaign Steering Committee,

On behalf of the international disability community, we are writing today to applaud your decision to enshrine non-discrimination as core commitment in your very impressive Client Protection Principles.

This has the real potential of opening the self employment doors to Persons with Disabilities worldwide, as the blog on this topic by our colleagues Michael Stein and Josh Goldstein properly emphasize.  The provision of a full array of financial services to this population, estimated to be upwards of 525,000,000 people in the developing world, also represents a long-term business opportunity for microfinance institutions.

We stand ready to share with you our years of expertise to help develop appropriate tools and guidelines to make microfinance institutions far more disability inclusive than they are today.

Creating equal opportunity for person with disabilities, as well as other vulnerable populations,  is a historic achievement for the Smart Campaign and one that will lead to a better quality of life for millions of people worldwide.

We are grateful for your inspired leadership. Thank you  for taking this great leap forward.

Warmest regards.

Sincerely,

Grégory Doucet
Coordinator Microfinance for all Alliance
Handicap International – France

Thomas Foley
Deputy Director
World Institute on Disability

Professor Nora Groce
Leonard Cheshire Chair,
University College London

Venus M. Ilagan
Secretary General
Rehabilitation International
CEO, RI Foundation

Johnette Hartnett, Ed.D.
Director of Strategic Partnership Development and Research; Director, REI Tour
National Disability Institute

Anne Leymat
Livelihoods Technical Advisor
Technical Resources Division
Handicap International—France

Charlotte V. McClain-Nhlapo
Coordinator – Office of  Disability & Inclusive Development
Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning
USAID

Kevin G. McGuire
Chairman & CEO
McGuire Associates, Inc.

Michael Morris, J.D.
Executive Director
National Disability Institute

Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq.
Senior Human Rights Legal Advisor, BlueLaw International, LLP
Visiting Scholar, University of Hawai’I, Spring 2012

Michael Stein
Executive Director
Harvard Law School Project on Disability