FIELD Brief No. 21 – Non-Discrimination: Making Microfinance Institutions Disability Inclusive and Smart Campaign Certifiable

  • Date Posted: March 19, 2014
  • Authors: Josh Goldstein, Mariel Cabral, Jimena Vallejos
  • Organizations/Projects: FHI 360
  • Document Types: Primer or Brief
  • Donor Type: Non-US Government Agency

Persons with disabilities (PWD) are the largest vulnerable minority population in the world, eighty percent of whom live in developing countries. Although the vast majority of PWD have the capacity to make meaningful and self-sustaining economic contributions, they make up a minimal percentage of microfinance institutions’ current client bases worldwide.

This “FIELD Brief” is the twenty first in a series of briefs produced by the USAID-funded FIELD-Support LWA Program. Managed by FHI 360, FIELD-Support represents a consortium of organizations committed to advancing the state-of-the-practice of microfinance and microenterprise development through innovation, learning, and exploration.

The Smart Campaign activity under the FIELD-Support LWA designed and tested disability-inclusive tools and standards that can be broadly disseminated and implemented at microfinance institutions around the world. Knowledge gained from this activity provides essential tools for the microfinance industry to increase the inclusiveness of MFIs to encompass PWD both as employees and as clients.

This Brief discusses the experiences, knowledge, and next steps from the completion of a pilot activity implemented by the Smart Campaign in conjunction with the Center for Financial Inclusion, their disability inclusion partner, Fundación Paraguaya, and technical expert Handicap International.

Brief written by Josh Goldstein, Principal Director of Disability Inclusion at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion; Mariel Cabral, Principal Specialist, Accion; and Jimena Vallejos, Project Manager, Fundación Paraguaya.

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