Nearly 20 years ago, 1.85 billion people globally were living on less than $1.90 a day. By 2015, this figure was cut in half. Despite such progress, the number of people living in poverty remains far too high.
In the face of such a daunting challenge, it is helpful to remember that true prosperity is a global concern. Tackling seemingly intractable problems, like poverty, is not solely a concern for the world’s developing nations. When the poor among us are given opportunities to succeed, everyone benefits—individuals, families, communities and whole economies.
October 17th is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Learn how FINCA, an organization with a mission to alleviate poverty, is pairing donor support with market-based approaches to fight global poverty.
As a pioneer of Village Banking™ and founder of one of the largest microfinance networks of its kind, FINCA Impact Finance, we are enabling access to essential financial services. Financial exclusion underpins so many of the challenges faced by the world’s poor. At FINCA, we know that access to socially responsible finance strengthens the economic security of low-income families.
To make banking more accessible and affordable, we launched a new initiative, called FINCA Forward. This program will strengthen the capacity of microfinance institutions to onboard financial technology (“fintech”) innovations, like mobile banking. These technologies will expand access to the financial services proven to reduce poverty, hunger and gender inequality.
Access to finance, while critical, is not a silver bullet for poverty alleviation. If the community you live in lacks basic sanitation or quality education, your quality of life will remain poor.
To improve access to life-enhancing basic services, we launched FINCA Ventures. This program supports the rise of social enterprises offering innovative solutions to poverty in energy, water and sanitation, education and more. When the world’s poor have access to financial services, clean energy, safely-managed sanitation and quality education, they can raise their standard of living.
It turns out that there are natural synergies between access to finance and access to basic services. Our BrightLife program in Uganda is working at the intersection of clean energy and financial inclusion to create greater resiliency for off-grid, unbanked families. It does so by providing last-mile distribution and end-user financing for solar energy products.
Pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) financing not only makes these life-improving products affordable, but also provides data analytics used to create tailored financial products. This opens the door to more impactful financial inclusion at FINCA Uganda, including credit and savings accounts.
FINCA was founded 34 years ago with a mission to alleviate poverty. To ensure our programs are creating meaningful impact in our clients’ lives, we conduct frequent and rigorous research. We use a customer-driven methodology that tells us how our programs and services are viewed through the lens of the end-user.
Our findings are transparently measured and shared on a social performance website. Data collection not only provides useful intelligence for enhancing our work, but also monitors progress toward our mission of poverty alleviation.