On July 22, AGENDA convened the fifth regional DPO online meeting on ‘How Digital Channels and Financial Products Can Accelerate Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities’. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Regional Office for Asia and was moderated by AGENDA Disability Rights Advisor, Tolhas Damanik. AGENDA disabled people’s organizations (DPO) partners from six countries and the Chairman of ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) participated.
Mr. Tolhas Damanik opened the meeting by identifying action points in the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Enabling Masterplan), which relate to financial inclusion for persons with disabilities. Mr. Bagus Santoso from DEFINIT, a research, consulting and training firm, then presented lessons learned from efforts to implement financial inclusion in Indonesia. Mr. Bagus Santoso highlighted the need for innovative, accessible solutions that utilize digital technology to expand financial inclusion outreach to obtain the target goal of 90 percent participation. Representatives from UNCDF, Ms. Jessica Nurack and Mr. Rajeev Kumar Gupta, co-led a presentation on how digital channels and financial products can accelerate financial inclusion for persons with disabilities. Following the presentation, UNCDF representatives led a discussion with participants to identify implementation challenges and discuss strategies for inclusive financial services throughout ASEAN. In addition, Ms. Jessica Nurak also conducted a survey, using Mentimeter, to understand countries’ priorities accessing financial services and targeted areas for future improvement. In his closing statement, Mr. Rajeev Kumar Gupta highlighted the need for strengthening financial literacy among persons with disabilities and utilizing digital technologies to enhance the accessibility of financial products and services. He also emphasized the importance of collaborations between UNCDF and DPOs across the region in order to understand their needs and to find solutions to enhance access to financial services for persons with disabilities.