Announcing The Launch Of Program SAFE

Posted on 05/22/2024

I am thrilled to share the news that Grameen Foundation has launched a bold initiative to end financial abuse around the world. Our Program SAFE is a comprehensive strategy aimed at raising awareness, developing tools and standards, and building a global coalition to safeguard against financial abuse in all its forms.

Grameen Foundation is uniquely poised to build this coalition for change because of our work at the intersection of financial inclusion and women living in poverty since 1997.

In order to understand the magnitude of need, we must first understand the issue. What we've learned from the women we work with is the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) in their lives. It is estimated that globally, one in three women have experienced a form of GBV at least once. Most recently, we’ve taken a deeper look into a form of GBV that is least understood but the most relevant to our work: financial abuse.

Financial abuse is a form of economic violence, an often-overlooked type of violence. It restricts a person's ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources, ensuring financial dependency on an abuser. It's often used as a control tactic that ranges from sabotaging work opportunities to restricting access to credit or seizing funds and earnings.

Economic violence against women, like other forms of GBV, stems from gender inequality and is reinforced by traditional gender norms. This is not just an inequality, it's a humanitarian failure.

It is imperative that we raise awareness of this pervasive and insidious form of exploitation that affects millions of individuals worldwide, particularly women, seniors, and marginalized communities with long-lasting consequences for survivors.

Quote text from Grameen Foundation CEO Zubaida Bai that says ""At Grameen Foundation, we are committed to creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive free from exploitation and abuse. With Program SAFE, we are shining a light on the often-overlooked issue of financial abuse and enabling new systems that ensure a global effort is organized to urgently address this need."

Given our decades long history working within the financial services sector and our commitment to clearing pathways for women to gain financial power, we have seen the change possible when working at a grassroots level. While our local efforts change the lives of individuals forever, it is not enough to enable the systemic and global change needed to end financial abuse.

At Grameen, our founding is rooted in the movement of microfinance to end poverty. A movement that inspired an international revolution in connecting rural women to established economies. We believe that the next movement that should occur in our sector is to end the financial abuse of women. Ending financial abuse for women will not only ensure we meet this humanitarian issue with the effort required, but that we make certain no individual is harmed within the financial system again.

We invite the financial services community and partners around the world to once again rise to the occasion and join Grameen in catalyzing rapid and transformational change to end financial abuse. The signs of financial abuse have always been there but they can no longer be ignored or normalized.

In the coming weeks we will share a series of blogs that will lay out the urgent need to address this pressing issue and identify a SAFE path for creating a global plan to end financial abuse.

Join us.

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