Request for aid to help Ecuador recover from the earthquake

RFR

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Please find below a special message from our friends at Red Financiera Rural (RFR) in Ecuador. They are requesting our aid in dealing with the destruction of the April 16th earthquake. While immediate needs are being met, RFR is looking to the future and how their member microfinance institutions can help their clients and communities come back stronger than ever. They are asking for your help in one of three ways:

  1. Donate to RFR’s efforts to help microentrepreneurs most affected by the earthquake or provide funds to help RFR establish a credit fund to help small businesses recover.
  2. Contribute second-tier, long-term credit with preferential interest rates.
  3. Offer your advice and experiences in dealing with disaster recovery.

Address your comments, questions, and offers of support to helpecuador@rfr.org.ec.


Dear Friends:

Cordial greetings from Rural Financial Network (RFR), an organization of 50 microfinance institutions with credit serving about 1,250,000 microentrepreneurs and small producers throughout Ecuador.

As you may know, an earthquake of 7.8 degrees on the Richter scale occurred on 16 April in Ecuador, with serious consequences on the west coast. The time has mobilized the whole country to assist with aid to cities and towns affected and have received specialized brigades and support of more than 10 countries to rescue survivors, assist the wounded, provide basic goods to the population and find the bodies.

At the time of writing this letter, more than 500 people are dead, about 3,000 injured and about 1,000 missing. Today, we can say there are enough resources to attend the current needs. We expect that all the solidarity received contribute to what is necessary now. Update of the disaster can be found on the website of Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat.

As a National Network that brings together microfinance institutions, we are concern about what is coming in the future. The affected areas have a high percentage of the population marginalized, most of the microentrepreneurs were developing activities related to tourism, trade, services and agriculture, so a drama will take time to recover. We can cite some facts about that:

a) The buildings and road system have been damaged between 70 to 90% in cities and villages near the epicenter, and between 40-60% in other populations. There are two provinces severely affected and other two with partial destruction. An estimated 20,000 destroyed buildings at the time.

b) Thousands of microentrepreneur beneficiaries of microcredit have suffered loss of their homes (many of them part of their economic activity), losing goods, machinery, supplies and inventories. Similarly, some markets, popular shopping centers and traders areas are destroyed or they have been looted, so microentrepreneurs merchandise are lost and possibility to continue their economic activities are not possible in the short term.

c) The affected areas have an adequate number of institutions that have been serving microentrepreneurs with credit and other complementary services. We can summarize that microfinance institutions RFR members have the following information:

RFR MEMBERS – IMPACT IN THE PROVINCES OF EARTHQUAKE
MICROFINANCE INSTITUITIONS # #
Microenterpreneurs
USD. Credit
portfolio
PROVINCE: MANABÍ
Local MFI 3 19,435 42,683,826
National MFI with branches 12 77,740 170,735,302
PROVINCE: ESMERALDAS
Local MFI 0 0
National MFI with branches 4 19,082 34,463,108
PROVINCE: GUAYAS
Local MFI 2 29,111 61,370,685
National MFI with branches 10 145,556 306,853,423
PROVINCE: SANTA ELENA
Local MFI 1 2,195 5,095,943
National MFI with branches 8 17,562 40,767,544
#
Microenterpreneurs
USD. Credit
portfolio
TOTAL SERIOUSLY AFFECTED AREAS 116,257 247,882,236
TOTAL LESS AFFECTED AREAS 194,424 170,735,302

d) Microfinance institutions, because of their high social commitment, are making the necessary efforts to help the affected population, responsible for coordinating aid and donations, assembling makeshift shelters, and collaborating in all that is required. However, the big question is how to recover the economy of the small business, refinance their loans, provide additional funds for recovery, more human and psychological assistance needed by the population to resume their activities. We are expecting that local financial institutions suffer withdrawal of their deposits because people need their money now, however there are local mechanism to give assistance of funds and provide temporary liquidity.

e) In addition, MFI are asking to second-tier financiers, national and international, which in turn can refinance loans granted to the institutions of the affected area.

f) The Government is managing aid funds to multilateral agencies and cooperation to gradually restore basic services, road system and begin a rebuilding process that will take several months.

g) Despite the previous point, we know from previous local experiences in smaller scale, and from International experiences shared by friends and networks from other countries that the microenterpreneur need an additional reactivation fund to resume their economic activities. This is the only way to support a true recover plan in order to let them be self-sustainable. Additionally, we should help to seek solutions to existing microcredits. Conditions in the area are not the best for this process, however there are opportunities that can be taken with proper collaboration, because reconstruction activities could be offer possibility for microentrepreneurs if they would have some resources.

h) Finally, the aid will be concentrated in urban areas and in several cases, it will not be directed equally to marginal and rural areas of high levels of poverty. These areas have collateral effects (they can not take its production by isolation, low demand for its products by the companies or businesses affected, are not part of the housing reconstruction programs, their children are relocated to more distant schools, etc.)

For all these reasons, we went to the RFR network of friends and microfinance worldwide to request your kind cooperation in any of the following areas:

1. Financial contributions as a donation to:

  1. Contribute to help microentrepreneurs most affected by the earthquake (total loss of housing, commercial premises, inventories, machinery, isolation, low demand for their products or services, poverty, disabilities, the elderly, single mothers with young children).
  2. Establishment of a credit fund for micro business recovery (provision of raw materials, provision of equipment, repair of damaged infrastructure, change in economic activity)For these donations, which will be channeled RFR members present in the area and other specialized institutions, we provide the bank account of RFR may receive donations of any amount both individuals or organizations:
Bank Name: BANCO PICHINCHA
Bank Address: AV. AMAZONAS 4560 Y PEREIRA
Bank Phone: (+593) 2 2980 980
City: QUITO
Country: ECUADOR
SWIFT Code: PICHECEQ
Beneficiary Name: RED FINANCIERA RURAL
Beneficiary Account number: 3084625404

2. Contributions second-tier credits with preferential interest rates and long-term:

  1. Compensate for the temporary withdrawal of deposits;
  2. Promote credit lines reactivating production medium and long term;These credits can be awarded directly to the microfinance institutions or by second tier through specialized entities (public or private), for which RFR can serve as a contact and reference.

3. Information and experiences:

  1. Able to make contingency plans for microfinance institutions to enable them to define actions and strategies to overcome this moment;
  2. Organizations that provide support in these processes, resources or property donations, volunteers, donors, consulting, information dissemination, campaign design collection of funds or donations, etc.

RFR is open to sign agreements or commitments resource management and coordinate the actions required to receive the aid and to issue performance reports, accountability and audits to be the case. All the help received will be managed as an international cooperation project, with whom we have a vast experience and excellent references. Finally, a report of the entire implementation of the aid received will be issued, even with the list of microentrepreneurs and beneficiaries, as well as testimonies. RFR’s commitment will also systematize the experience so that it can serve as a reference for similar cases.

Should concerns arise or comments regarding about this information, please send it an e-mail to helpecuador@rfr.org.ec

We thank them in advance for your willingness to help or to spread this letter to persons or institutions that can help.

Best regards,

Javier Vaca Fausto Jordán
Director Ejecutivo Presidente

More ways you can help with donations.

The Ecuadorian Government invites you to donate directly:

Ecuador earthquake

Find them on Facebook

And, from CNN:

The Ecuador Red Cross has teams on the ground providing first aid and searching for survivors.

UNICEF has delivered 20,000 water purification tables to the area worst affected by the quake. UNICEF is also assessing the needs of children in the earthquake zone.

World Vision has deployed an emergency response staff to assist with aid distributions and is setting up shelters.

Samaritan’s Purse personnel are on the ground to help coordinate with churches and community officials. The groups says field hospital and medical staff will be arriving later this week.

World Food Program is providing food assistance to more than 5,000 families affected by the earthquake.

Oxfam America is focusing on providing clean water, sanitation, and hygenic products.

Save the Children is delivering emergency shelter, food, generators, and hygiene kits. It’s also providing kits for children to return to school as soon as possible.

International Medical Corps is working with local medical professionals to deploy mobile medical teams and assist damaged hospitals.

Handicap International and their emergency specialists are on the ground in Ecuador trying to get to the affected areas. They are there to provide rehabilitation services and counseling for the injured and their families.

Solicitud ayuda por terremoto en Ecuador

RFR

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Abajo encontrará un mensaje especial de nuestros amigos de la Red Financiera Rural (RFR) en Ecuador. Están solicitando nuestra ayuda para los damnificados de la destrucción del terremoto del 16 de abril. Mientras que las necesidades inmediatas se están satisfaciendo, RFR está viendo hacia el futuro y cómo sus instituciones microfinancieras integrantes pueden ayudar a que sus clientes y las comunidades regresen más fuertes que nunca. Están pidiendo su ayuda en una de tres formas:

  1. Donar a los esfuerzos de la RFR para ayudar a los microempresarios más afectadas por el terremoto o proporcionar fondos para ayudar a la RFR a establecer un fondo de crédito para ayudar a las pequeñas empresas a recuperarse.
  2. Contribuir crédito de segundo piso con tasas de interés preferenciales y de largo plazo.
  3. Ofrecer su asesoramiento y experiencia con casos de recuperación de desastres.

Dirija sus comentarios, preguntas y ofrecimientos de apoyo a helpecuador@rfr.org.ec.


Estimados amigos:

Reciban un cordial saludo de Red Financiera Rural (RFR), organización que agrupa a 50 instituciones de microfinanzas que atienden con crédito a cerca de 1,250,000 microempresarios y pequeños productores en todo el Ecuador.

Como es de su conocimiento un terremoto de 7.8 grados en la escala de Richter ha ocurrido el 16 de abril pasado en Ecuador, con graves consecuencias en la costa oeste del país. Al momento se ha movilizado el país entero para asistir con ayuda a las ciudades y poblados afectados, así como se han recibido brigadas especializadas y ayuda de más de 10 países hermanos para rescatar a sobrevivientes, asistir a los heridos, dotar de bienes básicos a la población y encontrar los cadáveres.

Al momento de escribir este oficio se totalizan más de 500 muertos, cerca de 3,000 personas heridas y alrededor de 1,000 desaparecidos. Se puede decir que al momento existe organización suficiente para asistir las necesidades actuales y que la solidaridad recibida contribuye a lo que se necesita por el momento. Información actualizada del desastre la puede encontrar en la página de la Secretaría de Gestión de Riesgos www.gestionderiesgos.gob.ec/

La preocupación como Red que agrupa a instituciones de microfinanzas surge de cara al futuro, ya que las zonas afectadas tienen un alto porcentaje de población marginada, la mayoría microempresarios que vivía de actividades de turismo, comercio, servicios y agricultura, por lo que al momento se vive un drama que tomará tiempo en poder recuperarse, entre lo que podemos citar:

a). Las edificaciones y sistema vial han sufrido daños entre el 70 al 90% en los poblados cercanos al epicentro, y entre el 40-60% en poblaciones aledañas a este, siendo 2 provincias afectadas gravemente y otras 2 con destrucción parcial. Se estima al momento 20,000 edificaciones destruidas.

b). Miles de microempresarios beneficiarios de microcréditos han sufrido pérdida de sus viviendas, muchas de ellas parte de su actividad económica, perdiendo mercadería, maquinaría, insumos e inventarios. De igual forma algunos mercados, centros comerciales populares, o zonas de comerciantes están destruidas o han sido saqueadas por lo que microempresarios han perdido mercadería y su sustento diario.

c). Las zonas afectadas cuentan con un número adecuado de instituciones que han venido atendiendo a los microempresarios con crédito y otros servicios complementarios, pudiendo resumir que las instituciones de microfinanzas miembros de RFR tienen la siguiente información:

ESTADÍSTICAS MIEMBROS RFR – EN PROVINCIAS DE IMPACTO DEL TERREMOTO
INSTITUCIONES DE MICROFINANZAS No. No. Microempresarios USD. Cartera de crédito
PROVINCIA DE MANABÍ
IMF locales 3 19,435 42,683,826
IMF nacional con oficinas 12 77,740 170,735,302
PROVINCIA DE ESMERALDAS
IMF locales 0 0
IMF nacional con oficinas 4 19,082 34,463,108
PROVINCIA DE GUAYAS
IMF locales 2 29,111 61,370,685
IMF nacional con oficinas 10 145,556 306,853,423
PROVINCIA DE SANTA ELENA
IMF locales 1 2,195 5,095,943
IMF nacional con oficinas 8 17,562 40,767,544
No. Microempresarios USD. CArtera de crédito
TOTAL ZONAS MÁS AFECTADAS 116,257 247,882,236
TOTAL ZONAS MENOS AFECTADAS 194,424 170,735,302

d) Las instituciones de microfinanzas, por su alto compromiso social, están realizando los esfuerzos necesarios para ayudar a la población afectada, encargándose de coordinar ayuda y donaciones, montando albergues provisionales, y colaborando en todo lo que se requiera. Sin embargo, la gran pregunta es cómo poder reactivar la economía del microempresario, refinanciar sus créditos, proporcionar fondos adicionales para su recuperación, a más de la asistencia humana y psicológica que necesita la población para retomar sus actividades. Se prevé adicionalmente, que las instituciones financieras locales sufran retiro de sus depósitos ya que las personas necesitan su dinero en estos momentos, y se ha previsto ayuda de fondos locales que provean liquidez temporal.

e) Se está solicitando a los financistas de segundo piso, nacionales e internacionales, que puedan refinanciar a su vez los créditos otorgados a las instituciones de la zona afectada.

f) El Gobierno está gestionando fondos de ayuda ante organismos multilaterales y cooperación para poder de a poco reestablecer los servicios básicos, sistema vial e iniciar un proceso de reconstrucción que tomará varios meses.

g) A pesar del punto anterior conocemos por experiencias locales anteriores de menor escala, y por experiencias internacionales que nos han compartido instituciones y redes amigas de otros países, que el microempresario al depender exclusivamente de su negocio para la subsistencia diaria, necesita un fondo de reactivación para poder retomar sus actividades económicas que son su único ingreso para sostén de su familia. Adicionalmente se debe buscar la solución a los créditos existentes. Si bien las condiciones de la zona no son de lo mejor para este proceso, hay oportunidades que pueden tomar con la debida colaboración, ya que las propias actividades de reconstrucción ofrecen posibilidad al microempresario.

h) Finalmente, la ayuda se concentra en zonas urbanas y en varios casos se ha visto que no llegará en la misma magnitud a zonas marginales y rurales de altos niveles de pobreza que sufren efectos colaterales (no pueden sacar su producción por aislamiento, baja la demanda de sus productos por parte de las empresas o comerciantes afectados, no son parte de los programas de reconstrucción de viviendas, sus hijos son reubicados en escuelas más lejanas, etc.)

Por estas razones acudimos la red de amigos de RFR y las microfinanzas a nivel mundial para solicitar su gentil colaboración en alguno de los siguientes ámbitos:

1. Aportes financieros como donación para:

  1. Contribuir a ayudar a los microempresarios más afectados por el terremoto (pérdida total de vivienda, local comercial, inventarios, maquinaria, aislamiento, baja de la demanda de sus productos o servicios, condiciones de pobreza, discapacidades, ancianos, madres solteras con hijos pequeños).
  2. Constitución de un fondo de crédito para reactivación de negocio de microempresa (dotación de materia prima, dotación de maquinaria, reparación de daños en infraestructura, cambio de actividad económica).Para estas donaciones, que serán canalizadas a los miembros de RFR presentes en la zona y otras instituciones especializadas, ponemos a disposición la cuenta bancaria de RFR pudiendo recibir donaciones de cualquier monto tanto de personas naturales o de organizaciones:
Nombre del Banco: BANCO PICHINCHA
Dirección del Banco AV. AMAZONAS 4560 Y PEREIRA
Teléfono del Banco: (+593) 2 2980 980
Ciudad: QUITO
País: ECUADOR
Código SWIFT: PICHECEQ
Nombre del beneficiario: RED FINANCIERA RURAL
Número de cuenta del beneficiario 3084625404

2. Aportes con créditos de segundo piso con tasas de interés preferenciales y de largo plazo para:

  1. Compensar el retiro temporal de depósitos;
  2. Promover líneas de crédito de reactivación productiva de mediano y largo plazo;Estos créditos se canalizarán directamente a las instituciones de microfinanzas, o por medio de alguna entidad local, pública o privada, especializada en el tema, para lo cual RFR puede servir de contacto y referencia.

3. Información y experiencias para:

  1. Poder realizar planes de contingencia para las instituciones de microfinanzas que les permitan definir acciones y estrategias para superar este momento;
  2. De organizaciones que brinden apoyo en estos procesos, con donaciones de recursos o bienes, voluntarios, cooperantes, asesoría, difusión de información, diseño de campañas de colección de fondos o donaciones, etc.

RFR se compromete a suscribir convenios o compromisos de manejo de los recursos o a coordinar las acciones que se requieran para recibir la ayuda, así como a emitir los informes de ejecución, rendición de cuentas o auditorías de ser el caso, tal como si fuera un proyecto con la cooperación internacional, con los cuales tenemos una vasta experiencia y excelentes referencias. Finalmente se emitirá un informe de toda la ejecución de la ayuda recibida, incluso con el listado de los microempresarios y personas beneficiarias, así como de testimonios. El compromiso de RFR será también sistematizar la experiencia para que pueda servir de referencia para casos similares.

En caso de que se presenten inquietudes o comentarios respecto a esta información, favor remitirla a la dirección electrónica helpecuador@rfr.org.ec

Agradeciéndoles de antemano por su predisposición a ayudar o a difundir el presente oficio a personas o instituciones que puedan ayudar, nos despedimos.

Saludos cordiales,

Javier Vaca Fausto Jordán
Director Ejecutivo Presidente

Research on Ecuador’s digital platform to be featured at 18th Microcredit Summit

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This gallery contains 2 photos.

technologyinfographic
The Microcredit Summit Campaign, as part of its 6 Pathways, is helping to highlight ways that digital platforms are helping to expand financial inclusion, especially for the extreme poor. We are pleased to share with you this Executive Summary of their research.

At the 18th Microcredit Summit this research will be included in the breakout session “The Digital Revolution and Financial Inclusion.” We hope to see you there!


>> Authored by Jorge Moncayo and Marcos Reis.

Financial systems have a vital role in national economies. They provide savings, credit, payment, and risk management products to society. In this sense, inclusive financial systems — those with a high share of individuals and firms that use financial services — are especially likely to benefit poor people and other disadvantaged groups. On the contrary, poor people must rely on their limited savings to invest in their education or become entrepreneurs. In addition, small enterprises must rely on their limited earnings to pursue promising growth opportunities (Demirguc-Kunt and Klapper, 2012).

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Ecuadorian Government commits to support entrepreneurs with disabilities

The Technical Secretariat provides financial inclusion support to entrepreneurial projects led by persons with disabilities. Says Alex Camacho Vásconez, Technical Secretary, “This commitment will allow us to take part in an international movement that seeks to reduce extreme poverty all over the world.” Read the full press release.

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The Microcredit Summit Campaign welcomes the Government of Ecuador as the first government to make a Campaign Commitment, joining a global coalition of 54 partner organizations working to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

The Technical Secretariat for the Inclusive Management on Disabilities (Secretaría Técnica de Discapacidades) of the Vice-presidency of the Republic of Ecuador is developing the “Productive & Financial Inclusion Model” through public-private partnerships. The model provides financial capacity building and training in support of enterprises run by persons with disabilities, and the Technical Secretariat has supported 257 enterprises to date. The Technical Secretariat commits to support 500 entrepreneurial projects led by persons with disabilities through the Productive & Financial Inclusion Network by December 31, 2015.

Furthermore, the Technical Secretariat understands the vital importance of measurement indicators to assess progress in meeting its objectives in serving persons with disabilities. It is currently working with partners to identify and assess the relative strengths of available poverty measurement and other indicators. The Technical Secretariat commits to implement a set of measurement indicators, including indicators to assess poverty levels, during the first half of 2015.

Alex Camacho Vásconez, explains why they have joined the Microcredit Summit Campaign and this global coalition:

“Our commitment to advise more than 500 entrepreneurs with disabilities in 2015 and to implement tools for the assessment of poverty levels of the members of this priority group directly supports the objectives of the 100 Million Project,” said Alex Camacho Vásconez, Technical Secretary. “The signature of this commitment will allow us to take part in an international movement that seeks to reduce extreme poverty all over the world. This strategic partnership with a global actor such as the Microcredit Summit Campaign is of great value as it constitutes a guarantee for the beneficiaries of the Productive Inclusion model and international recognition as a good practice for the global eradication of poverty.”

Read the Government of Ecuador’s Campaign Commitment letter.

The Microcredit Summit Campaign looks forward to welcoming our new partners to the global coalition and sharing their progress towards achievement of their Commitment at the 18th Microcredit Summit. The Campaign’s 100 Million Project is building a movement among financial service stakeholders committed to helping to end extreme poverty through: public statements of commitment to action, expanding practices to reliably measure movement out of extreme poverty, and promoting innovations and best practices to accelerate movement out of poverty.

The Technical Secretariat for the Inclusive Management on Disabilities was created in 2013 to coordinate the transfer of programs and projects from the Misión Solidaria Manuela Espejo to the guiding ministries; following Executive Directive No. 547, enacted January 14, 2015, this was transformed into the Technical Secretariat forthe Inclusive Management on Disabilities.

Among its roles are the coordination of  cross-sector implementation of public policy in matters concerning disabilities such as development and enactment of policy, plans, and programs to raise awareness about persons with disabilities within the initiative of Participatory and Productive Inclusion and Universal Access under the national program Ecuador Lives Inclusion (Programa Ecuador Vive la Inclusion).


We invite you to join the Government of Ecuador and…

Get Inspired. Set a Goal. Make a Commitment.

Join the movement to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty:

Disability Inclusion, in Ecuador and Around the World: An Interview with Larry Reed

Larry_Sa-Dhan_2012

This following article was originally published on the Center for Financial Inclusion blog

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This article was originally published on the CFI blog.

>>Posted by Jeffrey Riecke, Communications Associate, Center for Financial Inclusion

Last month Larry Reed, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, attended the International Summit of Productive Inclusion in Guayaquil, a conference focused on financial inclusion for one of the world’s most underserved populations: persons with disabilities. The event was organized by Ecuador’s Office of the Vice President, whose leadership has been seminal in advancing disability inclusion in Ecuador and around the world. I caught up with Larry to learn more about the event and the Microcredit Summit Campaign’s efforts to support persons with disabilities living in extreme poverty.

To watch the session that Larry spoke in, click here and jump to around minute 49 (Larry speaks at minute 51); the session took place in Spanish.


1. The event included diverse stakeholders and topics related to financial inclusion for persons with disabilities. Did anything in particular stand out to you?

The first thing that impressed me was just how big it was. Over 2,000 people attended the event, and it was also live-streamed. The 2,000 people were not only a diverse group in terms of sector, but also in how they related to persons with disabilities. And the interesting thing was that about half the people in the audience were either people with disabilities or caregivers for people with disabilities. The event included a fair where people could buy things made by people with disabilities. Even the food stands for lunches were all run by people with disabilities. It was an event that actually practiced what it preached.

The event aimed to further the work of Ecuador’s previous vice president on inclusion for people with disabilities and extend it into the financial sector. They’ve done a lot of work in Ecuador to get people with disabilities included. For example, there’s a law that says for any company over 25 employees, 4 percent of its employees must be people with disabilities. But, because there are not very many large companies in Ecuador, that law results in employment for only a small portion of the population that has disabilities. The government sees a need for self-employment and small businesses run by people with disabilities. And to advance that they need to have the financial sector providing services that help promote business start-up and growth.

2. You were quite active at the event, delivering several speeches and serving on multiple panels. Could you tell us about these discussions?

My role at the event was mostly to talk about what financial inclusion was doing in other parts of the world. I dealt not specifically with people with disabilities, but with efforts elsewhere that helped include previously excluded people. I tried to show how that would apply to people with disabilities.

We looked at the things the Microcredit Summit Campaign is actively promoting as financial inclusion strategies that reach people in extreme poverty and assist movement out of poverty — things like supporting agricultural value chains, linking government cash transfer programs to microfinance graduation programs or asset-building programs, technology development that reaches to the poorest, linking savings groups with the financial system through mobile payments, and so forth. I promoted activities that could be applied to people with disabilities.

The same things apply in Ecuador as in many countries where many people with disabilities live in rural areas and could earn an income through agricultural work of some type, even though they have a disability. The event featured examples of some of those types of businesses, but the big challenge is how to look at the whole value chain to make sure there’s enough value to be created — that there are markets for what people grow so that those businesses can succeed and thrive.

3. What messages did you take home with you?

The key thing to me in this whole area of including the excluded is a change of mindset. What it does to a country and to a people when they begin to see a broader definition of “we”? The spirit that was tangible at the event was the sense that, “We can do this. We can care for all our people, and we as a society are better off because we include them.” I think that’s the message we have to get out into the whole financial inclusion world. Everyone has abilities, everyone has something to contribute, and we, our economies and our societies are better off if everyone is included.

4. Disability inclusion is a severely under-addressed issue globally. How did it come to the fore in Ecuador?

This all started in the previous administration with the previous vice president, Lenin Moreno, who is paraplegic. Moreno is now the Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility to the United Nations, heading up some of the U.N.’s work in this area, and Ecuador is sought after all over the world for advice on how to do this work.

Former Vice President Lenín Moreno surrounded by supporters and well-wishers (2013). Photo: Fernanda LeMarie - Cancillería del Ecuador.

Former Vice President Lenín Moreno surrounded by supporters and well-wishers (2013). Photo: Fernanda LeMarie – Cancillería del Ecuador.
By Ricardo Patiño [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Moreno had been a business man, and one day he went out to buy a loaf of bread and someone was robbing the store. He got shot and became paralyzed. He almost gave up, and what brought him back to feeling like life was possible for him as a paraplegic was laughter therapy. And so he has published a few books on good jokes. Out of it all he became a well-known motivational speaker, and then he was picked as the vice presidential candidate, and his party won. Moreno then led a movement to include people with physical disabilities, with himself representing the contribution that people with disabilities could make to society.

While I was there I went out for a run and noticed all the bus stops and buses are handicapped accessible. You don’t step up into the bus. They open the door, more like that of a subway, and someone with a wheelchair can roll right on.

In their disaster preparedness work, teams of survey takers went out to the rural areas – villages, everywhere — and identified where every person with a disability lived. Then in the disaster plans they included how they would locate these people and evacuate them if there is a tsunami, tornado, or earthquake.

5. Switching gears slightly, how does providing financial services to persons with disabilities fit with the Microcredit Summit Campaign’s push to ensure that vulnerable populations are not excluded from MFIs?

One of our key goals at the Campaign is to see 100 million of the world’s poorest families move out of extreme poverty as a result of access to appropriate financial services and other help as they may need it. As we become more granular in looking at that goal and how we address it, we find that there’s a need to identify the groups of people that are traditionally excluded or among the poorest in different parts of the world, and ask what strategies help address the needs of those groups. People with disabilities is one of those groups.

Even within microfinance organizations that want to serve the poor, there are often unwitting prejudices about the capabilities of people with disabilities, and they end up excluded. So we think this is one of the areas that we need to highlight for microfinance organizations to make sure that they are being inclusive and that where possible and necessary they are taking steps to ensure people with disabilities can access their services and can use them well. At a couple of our Summits Josh Goldstein [who leads CFI’s disability inclusion work] has participated and presented and made Campaign Commitments. We’ve also had workshops on including people with disabilities for Summit participants.

Use headphones and listen only to the left earpiece to hear the original English.

6. What would you identify as the biggest barriers to advancing financial inclusion for persons with disabilities?

Probably the number one barrier is the range of prejudices or assumptions that people grow up with and maintain throughout life. One way of targeting these is helping people see how people with disabilities can contribute and identifying the types of activities they can be involved in.

Other barriers are found among financial institutions’ policies and physical structures. I once spoke with Josh about this. Often a microfinance institution will have a branch office on the second floor because that’s less expensive. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t serve people outside of the second floor office space. Is there a way of creating a kiosk or holding meetings in other locations that are accessible?

7. Our disability inclusion team has been enthusiastic about its collaboration with the Microcredit Summit Campaign. Is this topic gaining traction with other Campaign members? Is there a movement to advance financial inclusion for persons with disabilities?

I think the message is starting to get through. It’s something we need to continue to work on, but Campaign members are already motivated to help people who are excluded. So in their case, it’s mostly pointing out what exclusion looks like in this area and what the steps they can take to promote inclusion. We’re seeing a number of organizations starting to work through that.

For example, Fundación Paraguaya is actually working with the government of Ecuador to figure out how to do financial inclusion for persons with disabilities in Paraguay. On the flip side of this, I spoke with the Ecuadorian government and suggested that they need to do more analysis on the results of their disability inclusion work, and I suggested using the “Poverty Stoplight” system Fundación Paraguaya created. It’s one of the best systems for tracking movement out of poverty, as well as a source of information that helps clients look at their own situation and see how they might improve their lives. Right away upon hearing this Alex Camacho of the Vice President’s Office sat down with Jimena Vallejos of Fundación Paraguaya and they started planning how to share the information on using the stoplight system.

8. Any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

One lasting image I have from this conference is the delegation from Brazil.It was two people who work in the government on rights for people with disabilities, a blind woman and a paraplegic man. I first noticed them because they were staying in the same hotel. I kept looking for the other people from Brazil who got them there — and there wasn’t anyone. As they went through the venue, it was just the two of them together, the blind woman pushing the wheelchair of the paraplegic man and he providing directions to her. Her legs could propel him, his eyes could guide her. It was such a great image of the theme that everyone has something to contribute. We all have something to give, and if we can work together and provide the necessary means, we then include all those abilities in our society — and we’re all better because of it.

Red Financiera Rural (RFR) in Ecuador makes a Campaign Commitment

Lea en español (traducido por Google) *** Lisez en français (traduit par Google)


Summary: The Microcredit Summit Campaign welcomes Red Financiera Rural (Rural Finance Network) as the newest Campaign Commitment member, joining a global coalition to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Read the full Press Release

RFR - Commitment Letter

Javier Vaca, Excutive Director of RFR, displays the signed Campaign Commitment letter.

Red Financiera Rural (RFR) is the leading microfinance network in Ecuador. RFR supports microfinance institutions that serve the most vulnerable members of society. Currently RFR works with 46 member organizations across Ecuador to design innovative products and solutions for clients of their member microfinance institutions. RFR promotes best practices in financial transparency and reporting social outcomes in the sector. RFR’s innovative program to set up Social Responsibility Systems among its member institutions earned it the distinction of being a finalist for the European Microfinance Award in 2008. It is this innovative and social drive that makes RFR a well-respected microfinance organization today.

“At RFR we have supported the Microcredit Summit Campaign since we were founded in 2000. We are very pleased that our member institutions contribute to the goal of reaching people living in poverty with financial services, especially the most vulnerable including women and farmers. And we are convinced that with the dedication of our 46 members, through continuous learning, development of new methodologies and efficient management at a social and financial level, we contribute every day to a greater number of Ecuadorians being able to move out of poverty on their own accord, being agents of their own development.Javier Vaca, Executive Director, Red Financiera Rural


Some key excerpts of Red Financiera Rural’s Campaign Commitment:

  • We will expand to include 3 more member institutions by the end of 2014.
  • In 2014, we will develop innovative microfinance products based on the results of the institution survey that addresses the needs of the clients and institutions. These needs include rural credit, credit with value chains, rural savings, microinsurance, and microfranchises.
  • By the end of 2014, we will increase the coverage of institutions participating in Finance Education Programs from 8 members serving 2,700 clients, to 12 members.
  • By the end of 2014, we will implement Social Performance Management tools in 20 institutions. Among these, we will implement 4 SPI, 2 Smart evaluations, and 2 with the Truelift tool.
  • By the end of 2014, we will implement these products in at least 8 institutions.

Read the RFR Commitment Letter (in Spanish – for English read here)


Join Red Financiera Rural and State your Campaign Commitment

Join us in the global coalition to help 100 million families lift themselves out of poverty – state your Campaign Commitment at mycommitment@microcreditsummit.org

Need additional guidance in formulating your own Campaign Commitment? Refer to our Commitment Development Toolkit.

Be social with us on Facebook and Twitter (@MicroCredSummit) using the hashtags #Commit100M and #100MGoal

 

Invitación al Evento Microfinanzas y Salud – 30 de Mayo – Lima, Perú

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Tenemos el agrado de invitarles a participar en el lanzamiento del informe “Estado de la Práctica de la Integración de Salud en los Servicios de Microfinanzas en Bolivia, Ecuador y Perú”. El evento se llevará a cabo este 30 de mayo de 5pm a 7pm, en el Hotel Meliá en Lima. Continue reading