Mental health matters for microfinance

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>>Authored by Bobbi Gray, Research Director, Freedom from Hunger

First of all, a disclaimer. I am by no means a mental health expert. Like many, I’ve had my own experiences which have led to interests into the causes and impacts of mental health issues as well as the coping mechanisms we might use when we or someone we know suffers from a mental illness.

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, as you might know, and it has reminded me of a conversation that Josh Goldstein, vice president of economic citizenship and disability inclusion at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, and I started a while back. A conversation that also led to an exchange of ideas on his blog post “4 interventions to help victims of trauma find hope and dignity” in which he summarized his remarks at the 8th Annual PCAF Pan-African Psychotrauma Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya. (Josh’s full conference remarks can be found here.) During this conference, Josh tried to answer the question of whether microfinance institutions (MFIs) can help victims of trauma who suffer from mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to find hope and dignity through self-employment.

In his post, Josh suggests steps to be taken by our sector to be inclusive of those suffering from mental health disorders. In this post, I’ll address two of those steps:

  1. More linkages between mental health providers and MFIs can take place such that people have access to financial services and business and financial training.
  2. Create a set of global standards and indicators for MFIs and other financial service providers to follow that will establish the importance of and offer guidance on serving PTSD survivors and other persons with psycho-social disabilities.

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Register for the February 27th Webinar on Vulnerability

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How can microfinance providers help their clients reduce vulnerability and build resiliency? Join the Microcredit Summit Campaign and the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program, a professional training program at the University of New Hampshire, for a webinar on building client … Continue reading

Review of ‘Vulnerability’

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The Microcredit Summit Campaign welcomes a debate on our new publication, Vulnerability:  The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report, 2013, or, better yet, on the various topics that are covered within. Hugh Sinclair and David Roodman have, so far, … Continue reading

Larry Reed reflects on the launch of Vulnerability: The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report, 2013.

Center for Financial Inclusion blog

> Posted by Larry Reed, Director, Microcredit Summit Campaign

On February 5, the Microcredit Summit Campaign released Vulnerability: The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report, 2013 by announcing that in 2011, 13 million fewer of the world’s poorest families received access to microcredit and other financial services than in 2010. This is the first time since 1998, when the Campaign began tracking this data, that the total number of clients and the number of poorest families reached have declined. We found in our data that the total number of clients fell from 205 million to 195 million and the sub-set of families living in extreme poverty, defined as less than $1.25 a day, fell from 137 million to 124 million. (Visit the report website to learn more.)

I presented the report at a launch event at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., and Susy Cheston (Senior Advisor at the Center…

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