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> Posted by Center Staff
We’re excited that the Smart Campaign’s decision to enshrine non-discrimination in its core principles has received mention in the most recent newsletter of the Microfinance for All Alliance. In it, the alliance’s Coordinator, Grégory Doucet, writes:
The most positive estimates now confirm that less than 0.5% of people with disabilities are clients of MFIs. But, more than 650 million people are disabled, now representing 12% of the world population.
By prohibiting all discrimination against people with disabilities and more generally against disadvantaged populations, Smart Campaign has made great progress in the protecting the rights of marginalised populations. Eliminating any ambiguity, this new rule provides that “the selection and processing of applications shall not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, disability, religion or sexual orientation.” Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Adriana Magdas
In celebration of its 3rd anniversary, the Center for Financial Inclusion is organizing an after-hours event at its Washington, DC office. Guests can view a photo exhibit demonstrating disability inclusion in countries around the world, discuss disability inclusion in financial services, network, and enjoy wine and cheese.
Speaking at the event will be the Center’s Managing Director, Elisabeth Rhyne, joined by Joshua Goldstein, Principal Director for Economic Citizenship and Disability Inclusion, and Rosita Najmi, who is the Program Manager for the Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities Program and for Financial Access at Birth (FAB). Together they will discuss the existing landscape of disability inclusion in financial services around the world, introduce a road map for action by financial services providers, and invite guests to join in the efforts by discussing the path to disability inclusion. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Andrea Shettle, Program Manager, Global Disability Rights Library
Achieving financial independence is challenging enough for most of the world’s poorest citizens. When you also face persistent dehumanization from your neighbors and even your own family, escaping poverty becomes even harder. Men and, particularly, women with disabilities in many developing countries confront this challenge daily.
As an example, women with disabilities tell us they want to be included in microfinance programs so that they, too, can work hard, build a business, and support their families. But banks and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) often refuse to include them in microcredit projects. Bankers assume they are begging and turn them away without listening to their proposals. NGOs say that disability is “not their priority” and fail to recognize that people with disabilities need the same services that their other clients need, too. Meanwhile, even relatives may fail to recognize the personhood of a woman with disabilities and may exclude her from conversation and family activities. Neighbors may speak of them by referring to their disability rather than their name. For example, they may speak of “the cripple,” and not “my neighbor, María.” Can access to knowledge change this trend of dehumanization and financial exclusion for both women and men with disabilities?
The Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL) team believes that the answer is “yes.” The GDRL project is a joint initiative of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) where I work and our partner organization, the WiderNet project at the University of Iowa, with funding support from USAID. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by JD Bergeron, Kiva Sr. Director of Social Performance and Alyssa McGarry, Kiva Community Outreach Team
Kiva prides itself on its ability to provide financial services to low-income individuals and those who do not have access to typical banking services. We strive to impact the most vulnerable, and our model allows us to focus attention on groups and individuals that might not be served otherwise. One group that are typically among the most marginalized are people with disabilities. Kiva acknowledges that people with disabilities exist in all cultures of the world and we are proud that our community is taking strides to better support them.
The Kiva community recognizes that disabilities need not limit one’s desire or ability to hold a job, impact the community, or become financially independent. Kiva and our Field Partners support entrepreneurial spirit. We embrace a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.
Kiva Lending Teams Focused on Disabilities
Kiva’s community has already formed a number of Lending Teams that give loans primarily to people with disabilities and their families. The largest is KivaFriends – Disabled Persons . This group has 100 members and has lent a combined $29,700, with an impressive 11.7 loans on average per member. KivaFriends – Disabled Persons is a community of people interested in making a difference for entrepreneurs and families who are affected by illness or physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disability. They also support caregivers and entrepreneurs involved in the medical profession. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Rosita Najmi, Program Manager, Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities
“Hire Me?” was the question one graduate of Gallaudet University chose as an adornment on the top of her graduation cap. Last week, as the disability and human rights communities, and all of us who care about inclusion, celebrated the 100th ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) I had the pleasure of celebrating the academic and personal achievements of an intern with whom I have been working since February. I joined proud parents, siblings, and professors at Gallaudet University’s 142nd Commencement. Since then, I’ve been considering how the bold question of that one graduate fits the context of financial inclusion.
In a previous blog post about the Center’s program Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities, we found a series of questions. One was directed at the Human Resources Department of financial service providers: “Are there any qualified persons with disabilities in your community you could consider for employment, an internship, or a volunteer opportunity?” In this post, we ask, “If you had two candidates who equally met your checklist of eligibility criteria, and one of them had a disability, how would you decide? To whom would you say yes?” Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted by Rosita Najmi
The Center’s program on Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities is honored to host a photo exhibit, “USAID and Inclusive Development: Mainstreaming Disability in the Millennium Development Goals: Toward 2015 and Beyond.” The exhibit was originally commissioned for the 2010 observance of UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), which is an annual observance established by the United Nations in 1981, with a purpose, among others, of promoting a greater understanding of disability issues.
The exhibit includes photographs (17) demonstrating disability inclusion in Cambodia, Ecuador, Kenya, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, and Zambia. The display also highlights case studies (11) from Albania, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Egypt, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry »
> 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. Read the rest of this entry »
> Posted By Center Staff
In order to reach full financial inclusion, the financial services industry must address the needs of the world’s disabled poor. A great human rights struggle is starting to penetrate the world of low-income finance.
Against that backdrop, the CFI’s program on Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities has launched a new page on the Center’s website.
Check it out to learn the who, what, and why of the program, as well as other details.
You can also download program publications and learn more about the genesis of the effort.
Image Credit: Handicap International
> Posted by Mary Dakim, Intern, Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities Program
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): 147 countries have signed it; 99 countries have ratified it; how many countries have implemented it?
I recently reviewed a study by the European Foundation Centre that analyzed how the European Union and its member states are implementing the UN CRPD. The report identifies challenges of full and effective implementation and aims to support the EU Disability Action Plan. Operationalizing a convention is clearly no easy task.
As a teacher, I understand how difficult it is to change behavior and to foster a link between an idea and action. During my internship at the Center of Financial Inclusion, I have also learned how much microfinance organizations are already being asked to do—a lot, and from all directions, from donors, investors, regulators, and governments, just to name a few.
The manager of the Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities Program pointed out that profit margins are already thin, that microfinance markets are growing saturated and more competitive, and that MFI leaders are being asked to do a lot beyond honoring their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders.
> Posted by Center Staff
The Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) has devoted the last several weeks to efforts spanning Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and beyond. Here are some of the highlights:
In India, the Council of Microfinance Equity Funds (CMEF) coordinators and the Smart Campaign’s team participated in meetings designed to re-tool the Indian microfinance industry. The meetings were organized by Sa-Dhan, ACCESS and CMEF itself.
In other Smart Campaign action, staff members met in Addis Ababa to train prospective client protection trainers and assessors from 11 African networks. Campaign staff also took part in an IDB event on coordinating client protection initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean. Read the rest of this entry »