0

Author: e-MFP
e-MFP is a member-led platform, and we always want to hear what our members are doing in different fields, to increase linkages and knowledge sharing both across the platform and with other stakeholders. Over 2021, e-MFP reached out to its members to see who was doing what in the area of this year’s European Microfinance Award theme – 'Inclusive Finance and Health Care'. We asked them five questions, and we’re very grateful to the following members for their contributions.

0

Author: Bobbi Gray and Amelia Kuklewicz - Grameen Foundation
We met Teresa in El Salvador in the winter of 2019. She was a participant in a focus group discussion in which we sought to understand the relationship between women’s involvement in microfinance and the impact of income shocks on their families. She was emotional, sharing her anguish over her husband’s illness and how she took the risk of taking out a loan to manage his medical care. Along with the other women in her group, when they discussed income, they had a well-worn phrase to hand - “Coyol quebrado, coyol comido” – which alludes to a particular fruit with a hard shell, that when broken, is eaten right away and nothing is saved. This is their cash flow and expenses; earned income is always fully accounted for and used immediately, leaving no room for emergencies. In English, this might be called ‘hand-to-mouth’. In 2019, with a grant from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Grameen Foundation and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative joined forces for the Reducing Incidence of Child labor and Harmful conditions of work in Economic Strengthening initiatives (RICHES) project, with the goal to develop a toolkit for women’s economic empowerment actors such as financial services providers (FSPs) to integrate child labor and business safety into FSP products, services and programming.

0

Author: Rob Kaanen - Scale2Save
The Covid-19 pandemic is the latest crisis that is putting pressure on financial service providers (FSPs) globally. Lockdowns and regulatory moratoriums on loan repayments, together with a lower business activity are putting serious constraints on FSP’s liquidity positions. Early in the Covid pandemic, there was widespread concern that liquidity constraints could wipe out many of the financial institutions that serve low-income customers and small- and medium sized enterprises. Two recent reports issued by CFI/e-MFP and CGAP point to the vital importance of managing liquidity in the midst of a crisis. After all, the quickest path to failure of an FSP is running out of cash. Available liquidity should be used to retain the confidence and trust of both customers and creditors while continuing to operate and paying staff. Once stability is achieved, an FSP can start its recovery, but this cannot be achieved without retaining the confidence of customers, investors, staff, and the regulator. Scale2Save is a partnership between WSBI and the Mastercard Foundation to establish the viability of small-scale savings in six African countries. To analyse the impact of the Covid crisis on the liquidity profile of our partner FSPs, we compared the pre-crisis liquidity position at end of year 2019 with that at end of 2020 when a cautious and gradual recovery of the Covid pandemic had set in

0

Author: Shams Azad and Rubait-E-Jannat
Bangladesh has recorded notable achievements in the healthcare sector in the last few decades. Reforms and a drive to develop an extensive healthcare infrastructure have led to reduced child and maternal mortality rates, increased immunisation, and progress in combating infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. All of these achievements are remarkable among south Asian nations. But still, an all-inclusive health care system is a far-reaching goal. An estimated 67% of total healthcare expenditure is met from households’ out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses, one of the highest in the South-East Asia region. Out of this OOP expenditure, 69.4% goes on medicines, exacerbated by the absence of a national health insurance system. So low-income households experience different and serious vulnerabilities during health emergencies.

0

Author: Gilles Renouil - Women’s World Banking
As leaders face the enormous challenge of reviving post-pandemic economies, financial inclusion plays a key role. But how do we ensure that incentives, tools and programs specifically designed for low income populations become commercially viable in their own right, and remain financially sustainable over the long term? In last month’s blog “Five to thrive Embedding health care in financial services”, Lisa Morgan and Craig Churchill from the International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted that while the need is greater than ever, it’s not easy to design and deliver financial services that can help to finance health care for vulnerable groups. We at Women’s World Banking look back at 15 years of design and implementation of innovative health insurance programs for low-income populations and confirm that yes, it is not easy. Yet, Caregiver, our flagship insurance solution, provides a meaningful, affordable and sustainable life insurance and hospital cash solution to middle- and low income women (entrepreneurs) in developing countries, proving that with discipline and commitment it can be done.

0

Author: Craig Churchill - Lisa Morgan
We laud e-MFP and the other European Microfinance Award organisers for highlighting, via this year’s Award, the potential impact that financial inclusion can have on health care. This is indeed a critical issue. For low-income households and microentrepreneurs, ill health can be financially catastrophic – eroding savings, depleting working capital, causing loan repayment defaults and exacerbating indebtedness. Health related financial risks are a primary driver of impoverishment. The WHO estimates that about 150 million people around the world suffer financial catastrophe each year from out-of-pocket expenditure on health services, while 100 million people fall below the poverty line.

0

Author: Daniel Rozas - Sam Mendelson
“The first wealth is health,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. How particularly true this is for the global poor, for whom health is often the dividing line between the path to prosperity or a slide into destitution. To make matters worse, the combination of typically volatile and precarious incomes and the absence of high-quality universal health care where they live means low-income communities not only need access to health care, but also the ability to pay for it.

0

Author: Jeff Ashe
It was the summer of 2004. Mamadou Biteye and I met a group of women traders at a market two hours from Bamako, Mali’s capital. Before we made our pitch for Saving for Change, the Savings Group Initiative I directed at Oxfam America, I asked, “Are any of you saving in a tontine.” Their hands shot up. One woman said, “We save money every week and each of us in turn receives her payout.” She described in detail how she organized her tontine as the others listened intently. Another woman chimed in “We save for a year and then divide the money when most of us need it.” Another added, “We save so we can buy what we need to sell wholesale. That way we make a lot more money.” In less than an hour, they described three solutions for saving money in useful amounts adapted to their specific needs.

0

Author: Sam Mendelson
European Microfinance Week is the biggest thing the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) does each year. The 2020 event encapsulated much about the financial inclusion sector – the good, the bad and the simply confusing – as it navigated the historic challenges of the past year. For starters, there’s the event itself. By last summer, it was already clear that EMW2020 would have to be entirely online. This meant a daunting array of new problems to solve and platforms and possibilities to grasp – along with real opportunities for this to be a blueprint for the future.

0

Author: Weselina Angelow - Programme Director Scale2Save WSBI
These have been threatening times for financial service providers (FSPs) and customers. That’s especially true in Africa, where large-scale lockdowns across countries, besides causing economic setbacks for particularly low- and middle- income households, hit FSPs on many fronts. From office staff workarounds and increasing use of digital products for branch and agent operations and contact with informal groups, FSPs saw challenges unforeseen just a year ago. The pandemic has underscored the importance of a digital financial services-enabling environment and a refocus on the need to build financial health and resilience among the underserved and unbanked. Scale2Save – a programme active since 2016 – helps institutions in six African countries through the journey of navigating the rough waters of Covid-19.

Pages