While persons with disabilities (PWD) make up 15 percent of the developing world’s population it is estimated that they represent only 0.5 percent of current MFI clients. While some PWDs have challenges so severe that economic participation is not feasible and ill advised, the vast majority (80-85 percent) have the capacity to utilize and benefit from financial services. This means that literally hundreds of millions of PWDs who are viable microfinance clients are unserved. Making the impact we all seek is fundamentally impossible unless we get better at reaching and empowering this vital and talented customer segment.

The Smart Campaign has joined forces with the Persons with Disability Program of the Center for Financial Inclusion and Fundación Paraguaya to create a set of how-to trainings and tools that will help MFIs become disability friendly and inclusive. The goal of this work is connected to and aligned with Client Protection Principle #5 — Fair and Respectful Treatment of Clients — in particular the section that addresses the critical importance of enshrining non-discriminatory practices.

Below are all the tools and trainings in English with a brief description for each of them and translated versions where available.

A Framework for Microfinance Institutions Seeking to Close the Financial Inclusion Gap for Persons with Disabilities. This Framework was developed with guidance from leaders in both the microfinance and disability inclusion communities and is being refined and tested at Fundación Paraguaya, in conjunction with our strategic partner Handicap International. It identifies seven core areas that MFIs need to address to achieve PWD inclusion:

  • Universal Design and Reasonable Accommodation
  • Partnership with Disability Organizations
  • Human Resources Policy, Practices
  • Disability Inclusion Staff Training
  • Legal Framework
  • Technology-Enabled Inclusion
  • Financial Capabilities

This Framework integrates all our tools and trainings described in detail below into six pragmatic and actionable implementation steps— a real “how to” guide. We recommend that it be read first as it gives context to the other documents and provides a cogent overview of the themes explored below.

Josh Goldstein

Former Vice President, Economic Citizenship & Disability Inclusion

Josh was part of the team that founded CFI in 2009. He served as the vice president and program manager for the Center’s Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities initiative, where he spearheaded the development of the Framework for Disability Inclusion, which he helped launch at Fundación Paraguaya. As the Center’s global advocate for disability inclusion, Josh spoke about disability at conferences around the world, and worked closely with the United Nations on disability issues. He also oversaw a partnership with five MFIs in India and the Indian disability support organization v-shesh, for which he received a national award from NCPDEP in August 2014.

Brian Clancy

CFI Advisory Council Member

Mr.Clancy served on the Advisory Council of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. He is a former Accion board member. Mr. Clancy served as the CEO of In the Nation’s Interest – a social enterprise dedicated to increasing civic engagement. Prior to that he served as the President of the Boston Public Library Foundation. He also was a member of the Foundation’s Board, the Board of the Associates of the Boston Public Library and Chairman of the BPL Special Collections Committee. In addition, Brian was a senior manager at Fidelity Investments for 15 years. There he served as Chief Financial Officer and head of investment operations for Fidelity Management and Research. Other roles he played there included SVP New Business and Market Development, SVP Investment Management Technology, and SVP Defined Contribution Services. Mr. Clancy holds an MBA from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

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