Launching ASPIRES Blog Mini-series on Financial Inclusion: A Case for Orphans and Vulnerable Children

November 20, 2014


Savings notes
Photo: IRC

Savings notes

It might seem a strange proposition at first: the idea that orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDs be directly involved in activities that seek to promote access to financial services. One might ask, “Shouldn’t children be in school, rather than spending time learning about money management?” Then add, “Children don’t have any need for financial services. If children access financial services, won’t this lead them to drop out of school to start a business?” 

An emerging body of research has begun to show that many of these beliefs are misconceptions. The research finds that children can indeed save and build assets, leading to improved psychosocial well-being and reduction in risk-taking behaviors. All of which can occur while the child or youth is still in school.

To increase understanding of community-based savings-led microfinance programs directly engaging orphans and vulnerable children as part of USAID’s Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation and Research in Economic Strengthening (ASPIRES) initiative, led by FHI360, the International Rescue Committee has launched the Financial Inclusion: A Case for Orphans and Vulnerable Children blog mini-series on Microlinks. 

The mini-series will host specialists and practitioners from across the aid community to answer questions such as:

  • What are the benefits and risks of directly engaging orphans and vulnerable children in community-based savings-led microfinance?
  • What is the impact of community-based savings-led microfinance on health in areas with HIV high prevalence?
  • What are the different impacts between community-based savings-led microfinance and institutional microfinance interventions with orphans and vulnerable children?
  • How do community-based savings-led interventions compare to formal savings interventions?
  • What are the evidence gaps and areas for future research?

The first blog in the mini-series will kick off with Jason Wolfe, Senior Technical Advisor for the PEPFAR program, giving his thoughts on the challenges facing orphans and vulnerable children and the promise of economic strengthening directly engaging these groups. 

Through the series, we hope to increase interest and knowledge about approaches directly engaging children and youth and to hear from you about what you are doing in the field or the questions that you have.  

This blog series is courtesy of Microlinks, part of the Feed the Future Knowledge-Driven Agricultural Development project. Its contents were produced under United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-LA-13-00001. The contents are the responsibility of FHI 360 and its partner, the International Rescue Committee, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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