Financial services are an important element for the development of a sustainable livelihood. They are also essential to achieving a safe and dignified life. These services, including the opening of a bank account, savings, access to credit, money transfers, or even the access to insurance and micro insurance,allow the households to manage their resources in a safe and efficient way.
“Savings strengthen people’s resilience, and they are key to start or support the growth of a business”, points out María Alicia Eguiguren, Livelihoods Associate at UNHCR in Ecuador. “Much like the access to credit, savings can be invested in the purchase of supplies, capital goods or access to training. These conditions are essential to diversify the sources of income and to create resilience in the face of possible economic difficulties.”
With such considerations, the Graduation Model implemented by UNHCR and HIAS in Ecuador operates with the goal that the participating households manage to save up at least 5% of their revenues in a financial institution. To reach this goal, both organizations work in close collaboration to encourage the financial sector and the national cooperatives to ease refugees and asylum seekers’ access to bank account, such as the Xperta account developed by the Bank of Pichincha.
Meanwhile, to develop the savings culture among the model’s participating households, the CRISFE Foundation, jointly with UNHCR and HIAS, launched some financial education courses for the participants to learn how to set savings goals for their family, while providing them support to apply disciplined management regarding their finances, familiarizing them with the requirements and procedures of financial services such as the correct use of the debit card linked to the Xperta account
Photo Credit: Carolina Loza/UNHCR
Access the original publication here: http://www.acnur.org/fileadmin/scripts/doc.php?file=fileadmin/Documentos/RefugiadosAmericas/Ecuador/2017/English_Boletin_05_Abril2017