Sunday, November 24, 2013

Women's World Banking Conference in Amman Jordan...

Women's World Banking (WWB) is a global non-profit organization based in the U.S. It was established in 1976 to help low income women in developing countries to overcome their poverty through microfinance. WWB is providing financial support and technical assistance for MFIs and banks around the world for this purpose. WWB is serving more than 20 million clients around the world through partnership with 39 institutions in 28 countries. To learn more about WWB, click here. Women's World Banking Home Page

Women's World Banking held its global conference in Amman, Jordan this year. The theme was "Building Women-Focused Finance: The Global-Local Experience", particularly focusing on Middle East and North Africa or MENA.

I have been invited to be on a panel about mobile banking for the low income women in developing countries. I have given a presentation about what UOB is doing through interoperable mHose mVISA platform. Also  on the panel were Diamond Bank in Nigeria that is reaching out to the low income women through multiple channels and Vodafone that is growing the network globally using MPesa, a well known MNO solution.

It was my first time to attend WWB conference and it was quite interesting that it is focusing on products, services and delivery channel with particular focus on serving low income women in MENA where their outreach remains the lowest in the world.

Microfund for Women in Jordan selling goods
One of the ladies from Morocco lamented that Islamic fundamentalists are regaining power and control in the region and trying to reverse the trend of liberating the oppressed women in this region over the past 25 years or so. May it not happen!

I have seen so many Muslim ladies that have to cover their hair and faces in public places in black clothes. It could be a cultural issue, but nonetheless their human rights have been compromised and their freedom has been limited in one form or another. I prayed that God's spirit of freedom may prevail over them in His time.

Although the travel logistics were not convenient, the opportunity to attend and observe the conference focusing on low income women was a great blessing. - Jeffrey

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