Without Access to MicroFinance, the Poverty Trap is Deeper

The low-income and poor often lack access to financial services, such as credit, savings and insurance. In developing world, a small percent of the population owns a bank account. There are several reasons for the lack of access to financial services. Foremost is the fact that banks are often completely missing in rural areas of developing countries. Formal financial institutions prefer urban areas due to higher incomes, and lower costs and risks.

Without access to collateral and credit, insurance and a safe place to put some money, it is difficult for low-income families to invest in eco innovation and poor households to buy  eco efficient products. 

With the absence of financial services, the deprived of a coping mechanism. Exclusion from credit and insurance also reduces their ability to survive income or price shocks.

Access to financial services plays an important role in reducing and transferring the versatile risks the poor have to deal with. The microfinance revolution has generated a stream of eco innovations in the area of financial services and risk and crisis management innovation, addressing needs and providing financial services to low-income families and poor households. 

Innovating to Adapt to a Changing Environment

We help change the rapidly evolving environment in which social entrepreneurs (low-income families) can operate. We act as a risk and crisis management assistance and education agency, deepening and broadening analysis of the root causes and empowering social entrepreneurs with qualified knowledge and solutions, bringing a variety of eco innovations at the fingertips of the poor.

In fighting poverty, we assess, analyze and determine the proper response, depending on the context. We are expanding in one market area specifically: the use of simple and affordable risk mitigation and crisis management tools and technologies to impact low-income families (social entrepreneurs) and poor people directly, and the development of risk mitigation-based practices. 

Connecting Microfinance and Solution providers to Markets

Social entrepreneurs in the developing world often do not invest in risk mitigation and crisis management solutions because of the initial cost. Providing a more secure market allows these low-income families to break the poverty trap. 

We assist the private sector partners, other non-profits, UN and NGOs to explore ways to better use education programs. We support Gender Education initiatives to better serve women and girls to enhance the impact of gender education in developing countries. For example, the majority of water haulers are women and girls. Therefore, they often are excluded from education opportunity and face bigger risks of poverty. 

The ultimate goal is to guide social entrepreneurs and empower communities to effectively mitigate environmental risks and respond to crisis, and ensuring that eco innovation becomes part of the long-term solution.We also intend to share our lessons learned in “development-oriented contracting” with private sector solution providers and encouraging them to adopt similar models.

Need for Water Risk Mitigation and Crisis Management Solutions 

Declining water quality, increasing demand and competition for freshwater and depleting freshwater supply will increase the potential and need for effective water crisis mitigation and crisis management solutions to those in need for life sustaining assistance. 

CEC draws on a number of innovative mechanisms including decades of in-house water, risk and crisis management experience and expertise and support to water management programs. This provides value added to education programs and water projects.

CEC leadership team work in developing countries. They understand and find tremendous potential for productive partnerships as the optimal use of effective water risk and crisis management solutions and the support of credit facilities provided by MFI’s.

Weather-based Risk Insurance

We educate and assist social entrepreneurs in the development of weather-based insurance products, where the trigger for a disbursement is based on a rainfall index. We pilot such insurance policies and assist governments in designing and piloting drought and flood risk management instruments. Index-based risk financing heralds an innovative and effective way for assisting poor people whose livelihoods are threatened by extreme weather conditions and natural disasters. A thriving market for weather index-based insurance and pilots is currently developing, and will only become more important as climate change inevitably lead to a rise in weather-related catastrophies.

Potential Synergies

We are learning to be more focused on environmental risk mitigation and crisis management solutions within the humanitarian challenges we face, but we need partners to solidify and expand our efforts. Our weather-based insurance and education projects are dependent on an array of partners, with MFIs of primary importance.

Eco innovation is at the core of the risk mitigation and crisis management microfinance evolution. It serves the low-income families and poor well. Yet, more needs to be done. Areas where collaboration between MFIs and CEC could increase include:

  • Accepting risk mitigation and crisis management contracts as collateral for loans;
  • Providing financial services in remote rural areas, including innovative savings and insurance products;
  • Implementing weather-based insurance products;
  • Capacity development in financial literacy;
  • Providing financial services and training to social entrepreneurs' associations.

CEC appeals to the global community to keep innovating and encouraging MFIs to work with our members, to link and implement solutions and education programs, and create new ways to address environmental challenge. Together we can do it. Together we are much stronger. 

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