iSAVE has identified a number of barriers to economic empowerment for persons with disabilities. By understanding, addressing and gradually removing these different barriers, persons with disabilities can access affordable credit and productive assets (seed, land, livestock, equipment, etc.), allowing 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 their 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 their self-esteem and inclusion.
Disability affects many 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.
EXCLUSION LEADS TO POVERTY
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, perceived as loss to their communities.
The partner organizations involved in iSAVE have been working for several years to reduce the challenges faced by persons with disabilities. These organizations are the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU), the Federation of Disabled Organizations in Malawi (FEDOMA) and the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD).
In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that 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.