4 interventions to help victims of trauma find hope and dignity

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The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion has made a Campaign Commitment to bring greater attention to the issue of aging and financial services and further support the inclusion of those with disabilities. Learn how you can join the global coalition of organizations working to help 100 million families lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

Read the full text of Josh Goldstein’s keynote speech.


>>Josh Goldstein, Vice President, Economic Citizenship & Disability Inclusion, The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

“Over a sixth of the world’s population has directly experienced armed conflict, torture, terrorism, sexual and gender-based violence, ethnic cleansing or genocide.”
— The Peter C. Alderman Foundation (PCAF) website

I recently attended the 8th Annual PCAF Pan-African Psychotrauma Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, a multidisciplinary event that focuses on psychological trauma in Africa’s war-affected societies. PCAF operates mental health clinics in Cambodia, Kenya, Liberia, and Uganda and conducts trainings for mental health professionals. At the conference,I was surrounded by global leaders from health care, academia, and a litany of organizations working in the mental health space.

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Connecting across continents at the RESULTS International Conference

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This article was originally posted by RESULTS on April 16, 2015. Re-posted with permission. KANCO, the Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium, is a member of the ACTION global health advocacy partnership with RESULTS.


>>Authored by Joyce Matogo, KANCO Grassroots Manager.

“Connecting with other human beings about issues that affect human beings, you’re able to relate to these issues more closely…. When you step outside of your own continent and see other people who have good will, other people who care, it’s very empowering.”

I never thought I’d go to the U.S., much less Capitol Hill. But on the last day of the RESULTS International Conference, that’s exactly where I found myself. Standing in front of the Capitol dome with hundreds of other advocates, all I could think was, “This is a central place of power. Decisions are made here. And here I am, giving the human face to the vaccines issue.”

When I went back home to Kenya, I used the lessons that I learned at the conference to arrange an advocacy day and implement the RESULTS organizing model. I wanted grassroots volunteers in Kenya to feel the same sense of empowerment that I felt when I advocated in Washington. When our grassroots sat down with members of Parliament, they were well prepared to inform their MPs about the TB epidemic, explain the value of vaccines, and communicate a clear call to action.

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Who will pay for the end of poverty?

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This year, the world is coming together in a series of global meetings to decide the level of political ambition we’ll bring to the eradication of poverty.

On Monday, RESULTS UK (a sister organization to our RESULTS Educational Fund) released a report at the Financing for Growth conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the global community was negotiating who will foot the bill to eradicate poverty.

Titled “Who Pays for Progress? The Role of Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Development Assistance in Financing Health. A Case Study from Kenya,” RESULTS UK’s report focuses on Kenya’s reclassification from a low-income country (LIC) to a lower-middle-income country (LMIC) and how that reclassification will affect financing for health needs in Kenya. Oxley’s HuffPo article lays out RESULTS’ argument for strong and ambitious commitments from the global community to finance the next phase of development goals and the end of poverty.
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#tbt: Microfinance Revolution at the Very Bottom

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#ThrowbackThursday comes from the 2007 State of the Campaign Report EspañolFrançais Continue reading

Guest Post: Miracles in Kenya

The following is a guest post from Sister Giant participant, Cathy Michael, who attended the Africa – Middle East Microcredit Summit in Nairobi, Kenya in April 2010. She along with hundreds of delegates to the Summit went on field visits organized by local organizations to showcase innovative projects and client success stories.
The reflections that Cathy shares with us is about her visit to the slums with the Jamii Bora team. To access her photos posted on Facebook, click here.

“For all of my friends everywhere who care about making this a more peaceful world and for my Sisters from Sister Giant, who could not make it to Kenya, this is for you. I have tried to recreate the experience as best as I could…

“A note to all of you who are not familiar with my recent trip to Nairobi, Kenya. I attended the African Regional Microcredit Summit in Nairobi last week. I had the fortune to go as part of a delegation from SisterGiant/RESULTS. The 3 day conference was sandwiched between 2 field trips to the slums and the new model community, Kaputiei Town. We had the opportunity to meet, hug, listen to and speak with the people whose lives have been transformed by the microfinance grassroots organization Jamii Bora. We also had private meetings with Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Peace Prize Recipient; Ingrid Munroe, the visionary behind Jamii Bora; and Sam Daly Harris, RESULTS founder and organizer of this conference.”

MIRACLES IN KENYA

We walked through the slums of Nairobi expecting to find the downtrodden — human beings without hope, children crying and begging. Instead to our surprise we found smiles and laughter and pride. Children were serenading us in their high pitched voices, “How are you, How are you?” Everyone was proud and pleased to welcome these “wasungu” — white foreigners.

Who were these lovely beings we found squashed inside their one room huts? Families of five or even fourteen crammed themselves with all their belongings into a 10 x 10 space. Mattresses piled one upon the other, stuffed between storage containers reaching to the ceiling. Each night the mattresses are pulled back out of the stack and laid upon the floor for all to sleep. No bathrooms. . .no toilets. . .no running water. . .no kitchens. . . maybe a cooking stove run on kerosene shoved in the corner. Outside the door are plastic buckets to wash and bathe in. Two foot wide dirt paths separate the shacks and morph into mud paths during the rainy season.

Strangely, strolling through this community warmth and happiness radiated with an intensity that both captivated and energized us. What beautiful faces! Never in my experience as I’ve traversed through villages in other foreign lands have I felt such warmth and love. What is this magic that caught us off guard and warmed our hearts? These were authentic smiles. These were people who walked with their heads held high, people filled with dignity! The love and warmth they exuded were contagious. We all felt it. Walking on rural or city streets back home in the US, I have never experienced such a feeling.

The secret recipe of that magic is called Jamii Bora which means “good families” in Swahili, is a grassroots microfinance organization. It transforms lives by integrating ingredients including micro-loans starting at $10, a mandatory savings program and weekly support groups, affordable health care and life insurance, education, training and counseling, all with an astonishing loan default rate of only 1% and without Government support. Private donations are used minimally to initiate projects to develop infrastructure. This holistic approach provides an opportunity, not a handout, for the world’s poorest to take responsibility for their own lives. Individuals who repays their loan can access larger loans and are then energized to mentor others in the street.

Jamii Bora, with the guidance and vision of Ingrid Munro, who had lived in Africa for over 20 years working in housing development, looks for the poorest of the poor, families earning less than $1.25 per day. They search for street beggars, prostitutes, gang members and thieves. Ingrid Munroe believes and has shown beyond a shadow of doubt that any person on this globe, no matter how destitute or downtrodden, once empowered will discover and ignite their own individual creativity and motivation to lead a life of contribution with dignity.

The miracle is one of transformation, both personal and social. A favorite mantra that we heard from the Jamii Bora members is that “it doesn’t matter where you come from, what matters is where you are going”. Personal transformation generates social transformation in a reinforcing and self-sustaining reaction. Helping the poorest stand up is a central element in this process of transforming a culture. Many microfinance organizations have found that women are particularly responsive, trustworthy and responsible. As the saying goes, give a woman a loaf of bread and she will share it with her family and if anything is left, her community. Give the man a loaf and he will eat it himself or sell it for something else.

I have been asked, “How many people can this possibly touch?“ Another miracle of Jamii Bora is that this social model is replicable. Jamii Bora has given over a hundred thousand loans totaling almost $3 Billion. Jamii Bora has grown and spread throughout Kenya.

In Bangladesh, Grameen Bank, the microfinance institution begun by Muhammad Yunus, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has designed a similar program which has spread into Asia and Africa, now reaching millions of people. Another organization called BRAC, also begun by a Bangladeshi, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, has built an organization of several billion US dollars. BRAC is also spreading throughout Asia and Africa. Multitudes of other Microfinance groups, based on similar principles of savings and support groups are cropping up throughout the poorest communities of the world.

Muhammad Yunus has declared that microcredit is about making “The Impossibles Possible!” Leaders of the microfinance movement have said that we have the knowledge to end poverty within this generation. What we need now is not only the political will, but also compassionate commitment within the Institutions that serve the poor to make their first goal serving the poor not their bottom line, nor their investors. Jamii Bora, Grameen Bank and BRAC are outstanding examples of service in the name of the people. Reasonable interest rates and integrated support systems must be the accepted benchmark as we move forward. Institutions that charge 80% and 100% interest rates with the sole goal of profitting off of the world’s poorest are an absolute outrage.

People working in the field know that compassionate microfinance is the best tool that we have for obliterating poverty and obliterating poverty is the best tool we have to rid the world of terrorism.

Cathy Michael

To access the photos of the amazing people and their homes visit my Facebook page.

For more information on the organizations mentioned click on:
http://www.jamiibora.org/membersvoices.htm
http://www.grameen-info.org/
http://www.brac.net/index.php?nid=69
http://www.results.org/

Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister to Speak at Upcoming Microcredit Summit in Nairobi

Leaders of the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Kenya (AMFI) met withDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, on November 19, 2009 to discuss the Africa-Middle East Regional Microcredit Summit to be held April 7-10, 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Hon. Kenyatta pointed out that microcredit was at the center of the development agenda for Kenya.The Minister said he would speak at the closing ceremony of the Summit and his Ministry would be fully involved.

More than 2,000 delegate from over 40 countries are expected for the Summit which will be the largest microfinance gathering ever held in Africa and the Middle East.

Microfinance According to Ingrid Munro – a Delightful Story

In a lovely, inspiring and amazing lecture Ms. Ingrid Munro shared her story, the story of Jamii Bora, the organization she founded in Kenya and the stories of what she calls the “slower and faster climbers”. She gave an illustration of the magnificent work she has accomplished through the last 10 years and her continuing extraordinary involvement for Jamii Bora members.

In a lecture hosted by J.P. Morgan in New York, on September 21st midday, Ingrid Munro explained to us, how she worked with the members of Jamii Bora and succeeded in getting them out of poverty.

In July 1999, Ms. Munro started Jamii Bora, by lending money to 50 women street beggars, who had proven they could save as little as 0.65$ per week, for months. Today, there are more than 200,000 members of Jamii Bora, and it is the largest microfinance institution in Kenya.

Ingrid Munro did not just start a microfinance institution that provides loan to poor people but she created a new model by providing microcredit along with significant services like health and life insurance. Jamii Bora created a remarkable safety net around the members making sure they will be able to reimburse their loan and eventually succeed out of poverty. Throughout Jamii Bora, Ingrid Munro also founded a Business school for the members and primary and high school institutions will be completed soon.

Furthermore, she is supporting and encouraging the members of Jamii Bora in building a new town. The members are building their own town to move out of their slums. They are also building the roads through the new town and all the houses have solar panels for their energy needs. Ingrid proudly mentioned “today Jamii Bora members are building the first eco-town in Africa and we are managing ourselves!”

To conclude in Ms. Munro’s own words “everybody is not a success story and some people take a long time, we never give up and one day, they will say I can also make it!”

You can watch the delightful lecture titled “Not even the sky is the limit” here.

RaceCar Drivers Leverage Twitter to END Poverty with Microfinance

To kick off Race 4 Change ( http://Race4Change.org ), top Twitter personalities and humanitarians will meet offline & on Twitter for a TweetUp to mix and mingle at one of New York City’s hippest lounges and hear about a daring and dangerous month long racecar rally on Kenya’s rough terrain to raise public awareness and money to end poverty and environmental degradation. By leveraging the microblogging site Twitter, two international financiers-turned-racecar drivers Steven Funk, a Canadian, and Jean-Louis Juchault, a Frenchman, and leading U.S. and African organizations, will launch a massive grassroots campaign throughout the global Twitter community to support the treacherous racecar rally’s goal of ending poverty, expanding microlending, and protecting the environment to transform the lives of Africa’s poorest people.

The grueling road race, to take place in November, is a coordinated effort between the East African Safari Classic Rally, Jamii Bora and Microcredit Summit. 100% of money raised will benefit Kenya-based Jamii Bora Bank, an innovative, world-renowned microcredit lending institution, and the Microcredit Summit Campaign, a global campaign to reach the world’s poorest families, especially women, with credit and financial services. It will host it’s next meeting in Kenya in April 2010.

In a day when the smallest effort can make the greatest difference, help show the power of what can happen when a challenge is offered and thousands respond. We can race to make great change! Follow the action in real time at @race4change, and share via your Twitter! Copy and ReTweet the below:

Pls RT: Check out the @race4change Tweetup in #NYC Sept 23, Africa Rally racers fight to end poverty: http://bit.ly/5RPiX #race4change

Jamii Bora helps Kenyans build a new life in Kaputei

On September 13th, the Seattle Times reported on Jamii Bora success story. Now one of Kenya’s largest microfinance organizations, with about 230,000 members, it has gone beyond the wildest imagination of what microfinance organizations are expected to accomplish with its new project.
22 miles outside of Nairobi, Kaputei is a being erected as a new self-contained town that Jamii Bora hopes will someday be home to 10,000 people, schools, shops and small industry.
“To keep costs down, Jamii Bora is manufacturing the building materials on site, providing jobs to its members and others living nearby. Kaputei is also an eco-town of sorts, with houses powered by solar panels and an ambitious plan to recycle 70 percent of the wastewater through man-made wetlands.”
Read Full article of Jim Simon and leran more about Jamii Bora here.