The iSAVE Inclusive Economic Empowerment Programme (iSAVE) is an inclusive microfinance programme designed to remove barriers that hinder the inclusion and particiation of persons with disabilities. These barriers exist due to exclusion by the community, service providers and development programs, as well as exclusion by design. Persons with disabilities often have low self-esteem, which also creates a barrier to their participation in social and economical activities. Through supporting the empowerment of persons with disabilities and by understanding and gradually removing the barriers they face, persons with disabilities are better integrated in their local communities, become self-sufficient, and can contribute to further development of the community.

The goal of iSAVE is to ensure that women, men and youth with disabilities are economically independent, socially recognized and included.
The primary target group of iSAVE is women, men and youth with disabilities, as well as their families. All disability categories are included.
iSAVE is currently implemented by disability organizations in Malawi and Uganda with support from the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD).
The strategic ties between the disability organizations, microfinance institutions, academic and research institutions, private sector, local government and community ensure sustainable results.
iSAVE has identified a number of barriers to economic empowerment of persons with disabilities. Through supporting the empowerment of persons with disabilities and by understanding, addressing and gradually removing the different barriers they face, persons with disabilities can access affordable credit and productive assets (e.g. seed, land, livestock, equipment, etc.). This further allows them to establish and nurture small scale businesses.
As a result of iSAVE, women, men and youth with disabilities can participate in efforts to bring about sustainable change for a better life for their families and others in the community. They become active participants in their communities, gaining independence through financial self-reliance and earning respect from their communities.  This, in turn, contributes to increasing their self-esteem and inclusion.
Disability affects millions of families in developing countries. In 2011, the World Bank and WHO reported that around one billion people – or 15% of the total world population – are living with disability. Eighty (80) per cent of these live in developing countries (UNDP). Twenty (20) per cent of the world’s poorest people have some kind of disability (World Bank). Having a disability places an individual within the world’s largest minority group.
In many developing countries, persons with a disability are very often stigmatized and excluded. This is commonly caused by misconception and superstition. Exclusion from education and employment leads to abject poverty. At the same time, those who are poor are more likely to acquire a disability, resulting in a vicious circle of poverty and exclusion. Coupled with a sense of helplessness, persons with disabilities have become passive bystanders, and are often perceived to be a burden by their communities.
The partner organizations involved in iSAVE have each been working for many years to reduce the challenges faced by persons with disabilities. These organizations are the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda, the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda, the Federation of Disabled Organizations in Malawi and the Norwegian Association of Disabled.
In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Building on the principle of “leaving no one behind”, the new Agenda emphasizes a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all, including the most marginalized groups. iSAVE will contribute to reaching most of the SDGs.
Uganda is the world’s second most populous landlocked country after Ethiopia with a population of 39 million. 16 % are disabled (ILO).

UGANDA:  The iSAVE programme is implemented in the following districts of Eastern and Northern Uganda: Manafwa, Iganga, Lira, and Apac. The organizations implementing iSAVE in Uganda are the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda and the Association of Microfinance institutions of Uganda (AMFIU). NUDIPU consists of 14 Disabled People’s Organizations that have offices across the country

Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa with a population of 17 million people. 10 % are disabled (ILO).

MALAWI:The iSAVE programme is implemented in the following districts in Malawi: Balaka and Dedza. The Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) is the organization implementing iSAVE in Malawi. FEDOMA headquarters is located in the city centre of Blantyre and works in close collaboration with the District Disability Forums (DDFs) and other national and regional stakeholders


Logo NUDIPUThe National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) was established in 1987 as an umbrella organization of non-governmental organizations representing persons with disabilities in Uganda. The mission of NUDIPU is to have a dignified society for all.

Logo AMFIUThe Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU) was founded in 1996 as an umbrella organization of micro-finance institutions (MFIs) in Uganda. The mission of AMFIU is to promote a professional, inclusive and responsive microfinance industry that contributes to transformation of livelihoods of all Ugandans.

Logo NADThe Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD) was founded in 1931 as an organization for persons with disabilities. Today NAD is an organization of persons with disabilities. The vision for NAD is to have a society for all, where persons with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as the rest of the community.

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