Microfinance for People with Disabilities
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Microfinance is considered an important tool in reaching the United Nations? Millennium Development Goals (Littlefield et al., 2003). Nevertheless, few people with disabilities have access to microfinance. This is in contrast to the United Nations? assertion that people with disabilities have the right to equal opportunities (UN, 1993, 2008). Anthony Mukungu in Lugazi, Uganda is an example of how people with disabilities are excluded from accessing microfinance. He packages and distributes flavoured drinking water. Mr Mukungu has a physical disability and moves in a wheelchair. He reports that the market is growing steadily and he now needs access to additional capital to boost his business. He has therefore approached several microfinance institutions ?(MFIs) to apply for credit, but so far he has not succeeded. The reason he gives is that MFIs think we [persons with disabilities] are not creditworthy? (Mersland et al., 2009, p. 3) The aim of this chapter is, first, to provide the reader with basic know-ledge about microfinance and how this is relevant for people with disabilities. Second, the chapter outlines the main mechanisms leading to exclusion from services and identifies strategies to improve the current situation. The overall objective is to give the readers a background to understand better how microfinance can be used as a tool to reduce poverty for one of the most marginalised social groups and to provide important knowledge useful in advocacy and project efforts.