Financial services

Financial services typically include savings, credit, grants, insurance and money transfers. Access to financial services can assist generally with life management, as well as starting and developing businesses. People with disabilities have the same needs for financial services as people without disabilities, but are often excluded from these initiatives.

Inclusive financial services enable people with disabilities to identify and participate in financial service programmes. The three main types of financial services in inclusive development initiatives include microcredit, microfinance, and savings and credit self-help groups. Through these initiatives, people with disabilities are empowered financially, which often results in enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem. Inclusive financial services are supported by article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

This keylist features resources that support inclusive financial services for people with disabilities. We welcome your feedback: please send comments or suggested additions to

Selected resources

Ensuring access to microfinance services for people with disabilities

GIORDANO, Alexandra
DOUCET, Grégory
December 2010

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This facilitator’s workshop guide is addressed to microfinance institutions and Disabled People´s Organizations to assist in the provision of access to microfinance services for persons with disabilities. This training tool is useful for operational managers, decision-makers, community leaders and NGO managers to build the capacity of participants during workshops to provide access to microfinance services for persons with disabilities

Glossary of Microfinance Terms|Glossaire bilingue des termes de la microfinance

January 2007

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The glossary provides the English and French equivalents for more than 1,500 terms related to microfinance, with some definitions in French . The main areas covered are technical accounting / management, finance and audit terms tailored to microfinance institutions, as well as the impact of microfinance services. It would be useful for microfinance practitioners

Graduating the poorest into microfinance : linking safety nets and financial services

February 2006

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This note presents general microfinance information and explores issues surrounding the debate about whether or not microfinance actually reaches the poorest at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale. Links between safety net programmes and microfinance programmes are highlighted through case studies. This note is useful for people interested in microfinance issues in developing countries

Key principles of microfinance


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This factsheet describes eleven key principles of micro finance. It is a user-friendly document that would be helpful for people interested in general information about micro finance

Managing scaling up challenges of a program for the poorest : case study of BRAC's IGVGD program | Scaling up poverty reduction : case studies in microfinance

MATIN, Imran
May 2004

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This chapter looks at the Income Generation for Vulnerable Group Development (IGVGD) programme, initiated by BRAC, a large microfinance NGO. The programme aims to target poverty alleviation through strategic linkages between grant-based and market-based microfinance programmes. The IGVD programme is described and planning, management and issues of scaling up are discussed. Tables and graphs are provided to enhance understanding. This document is useful for people interested in microfinance programmes

Microcredit for self-employed disabled persons in developing countries

October 2005

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This paper aims to close the gap in knowledge and culture between the disability and the micro finance communities. Resource-based theory is applied to analyse when microcredit for disabled persons is an appropriate tool and when it is not. General recommendations are provided for the inclusion of disabled entrepreneurs, as well as lists of recommendations that are both easy to understand and to apply for micro fiance institutions, disabled people's organisations and donors. This paper is useful for academics, professionals and organisations interested in micro finance for people with disabilities in developing countries

Supporting women’s livelihoods : microfinance that works for the majority|A guide to best practices

January 2002

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This guide presents practical information about the role of microfinance in funding women's livelihood activities, as well as the benefit to family units. The guide is organised into six topic-related parts, highlighting case studies and key points. It would be useful for donors and practitioners who are interested in microfinance programmes for women

Access to mainstream microfinance services for persons with disabilities : lessons learned from Uganda

BWIRE, Flavia Nakabuye
MUKASA, George

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This article reports from a pilot project in Uganda where the aim is to enable persons with disabilities to have access to mainstream microfinance services. Several lessons have already been learned: 1) entrepreneurs with disabilities are an untapped market opportunity for Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs); 2) to influence MFIs it is important to understand their business model and team up with key actors from the industry; 3) persons with disabilities are often misinformed about MFIs' terms and services and don't know how to tap these opportunities. Gradually a change in attitudes in MFIs and Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs) is observed. All MFIs participating in the project now report an increase in the number of clients with disabilities served. This is happening without the use of any economic incentives.

Inclusive microfinance : reaching disabled people through partnership development

March 2012

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"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"
Enterprise Development and Microfinance Vol. 23 No. 1