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Inclusive microfinance: Reaching disabled people through partnership development

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Abstract:

This study examines projects that support access to financial services for disabled people, highlighting good practices that guarantee efficiency and sustainability of initiatives with a particular focus on the use of microcredit. The study is based on the findings of: a global survey and interviews with disabled people's organizations and microfinance providers; a literature review; field studies in seven countries; and the outcome of two regional workshops (in Kenya and Bangladesh) and a practitioner workshop in Geneva. It is estimated that 10 to 12 per cent of the world's population has some kind of impairment and of those around 82 per cent live below the poverty line. Most people with impairments who work are self-employed. However, access to financial services for disabled people remains sporadic. The central part of the study explores the potential for successful, responsible, and complementary partnership development between microfinance actors and disabled people's organizations. Our findings demonstrate that if disabled people are given the opportunity to access financial services, many are capable of successfully managing loans and businesses – thereby becoming agents of their own development.

Keywords: DISABILITY; EMPOWERMENT; MICROFINANCE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3362/1755-1986.2012.004

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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