The implementation of iSAVE consist of three main components;
Since iSAVE provides only training, all funds and assets must be generated within the members of the group. For those that have been dependent on hand-outs and charity, this means they are further encouraged to find sources of income from e.g. working on other people’s gardens, engaging in petty trade, or selling small items or agricultural produce. This is usually the first small step towards taking an active role in getting oneself out of poverty.
The group gives the members the possibility to save and then later access loans that support them in developing income generating activities. The group also provides social insurance to the members in cases of deaths of their loved one, extended illnesses, natural catastrophe, an accident or another emergency. When the group reaches a certain level of maturity the members are linked to formal financial services (i.e. licensed microfinance institutions – MFIs).
iSAVE also provides training in disability inclusion to staff and management in the microfinance sector. This enables microfinance institutions to better understand this market segment and to develop appropriate strategies that are inclusive, profitable and sustainable.
As a result of this training persons with disabilities become more knowledgeable about microfinance services/products and their terms and conditions, while microfinance institutions gain an understanding of the value of involving persons with disabilities as clients.
Over time, individual group members will accumulate larger sums of money, and keeping these funds in an account in a microfinance institution is more secure. Being clients of formal financial institutions also opens the door to other formal financial services, which might further foster the development of their businesses. Since it often takes money to make money, iSAVE promotes increased access to microfinance services for all persons with disabilities – not only those who are members of the village savings and credit groups.
Including persons with disabilities in microfinance service provision is a win-win situation in that persons with disabilities gain access to financial services, while microfinance institutions widen their market base and, consequentially, their profit margin. Gradually, formal financial services become more inclusive and communities experience increased economic activity.
It is important to note, however, that iSAVE neither influences microfinance institutions terms/conditions of service nor contributes to their funds. Rather, iSAVE encourages microfinance instittions to develop professional relationships with persons with disabilities through training and awareness raising.
On average, the timeframe of a iSAVE programme within a given district is between 2 to 3 years before successfully phasing out. During that time, disability leadership structures receive assistance in building their capacity and skills needed to grow and sustain the program for longer periods ahead.
The persons with disabilities who are supported with entrepreneurship training are carefully selected from among those group members who either demonstrates the capacity and the will to start a business or who already have a business.