Read about our experiences and challenges
When the term financial inclusion is mentioned, the first things that come to mind are usually countries were poor people are financially excluded or unbanked like India, Afghanistan, Senegal, etc. But we don’t really need to look that far from home.
I first visited Lebanon in 2016; a crossroad country on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean sea, land of ancient civilizations and cultures; place of transit and exchange with a deeply-rooted openness to people and cultures.
The driver of our discussion is the identification of the effects of financial inclusion, when occurring through savings groups. We can distinguish three main effects: the redistribution of incomes, the accumulation of resources (savings) and the improvement of social capital. These outcomes vary greatly according to the methodology used within the saving group, and we will illustrate this with two examples.
When I told my wife that I was going to start a microfinance impact assessment project in Afghanistan, she was very confused. And I was, of course, expecting such a reaction. People associate Afghanistan with war, terror, and extreme living conditions. But this has not always been the case.
Located on the Western side of Hispaniola Island, Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, sadly known because of the earthquake that has hit its capital, Port-au-Prince in January 2010, causing thousands of victims.