Vulnerable Group Focus
Vulnerable groups refers to specific populations within a country that have been excluded from financial and social services for a variety of reasons.
Exclusion is most often a result of country and cultural specific circumstances, the most prevalent being:
- Post-conflict locations like South Sudan and Azerbaijan which result in Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugee populations.
- Difficult to access areas such as the mountainous regions of Nepal, or extremely rural areas, which isolate populations from mainstream communities.
- Indigenous populations in the Americas.
Other potential examples of vulnerable groups include ethnic and religious minorities, people with disabilities, people with HIV, youth, unbanked farmers and often times women.
In most circumstances it is more costly to serve a vulnerable group because they are often more difficult to access, perceived as higher risk or may require new products that better suit their unique situations. Effective targeting of individuals by Kiva Field Partners requires knowledge of regional demographics and individual profiles. Some Field Partners choose to address more challenging demographics as part of their social mission.
Because Kiva’s lenders provide interest free and risk tolerant capital to Field Partners, we encourage institutions to reach out to more marginalized and vulnerable populations when the opportunity exists. More specifically, the interest-free, patient, risk-tolerant capital loaned through Kiva can enable Field Partners to use the savings to send loan officers to more difficult to reach locations, create products that may cost more to operate but offer new opportunities to new borrowers like long-term student loans, and take on higher risk individuals that they may not have been able to serve in the past.
Field Partners who demonstrate service to vulnerable groups are awarded the Vulnerable Group Focus badge by Kiva.