BSR Receives US$625,000 Grant from Disney to Expand Financial Inclusion Initiative in Asia and Latin America

Oct 1, 2013 9:00 AM ET

San Francisco, October 1, 2013 /3BL Media/ —The Walt Disney Company has awarded a US$625,000 grant to expand BSR’s HERfinance initiative through new peer-to-peer education programs on financial literacy for factory workers in supply chains throughout Asia and Latin America.

HERfinance—which BSR launched in 2012 as a pilot project in India as part of its broader efforts to empower women in the global economy—has already reached nearly 8,000 workers in the readymade garment sector.

Research by BSR and partner Women’s World Banking revealed that factory employees in Delhi and Bangalore, many of whom are migrants from neighboring villages in India, face significant financial pressures and have limited access to information or support in the cities where they work. Initial feedback from HERfinance trainings in one factory in Delhi shows that 88 percent of women and men who participated found the training relevant, and the majority expressed a strong interest in ongoing education. One participant said the training was already paying off: “It felt great to know that we can fulfill our dreams with the help of planning and budgeting.”

“With more information about budgeting, saving money, and how to use formal financial services and products, low-income women working in factories can make better financial decisions for themselves and their families,” said Racheal Meiers, BSR’s HERproject Director. “We’re excited about the results coming out of our programs in India, and we look forward to growing our partnership with Disney and other companies to expand the program into new countries and regions.”

Most of the approximately 2.5 billion adults who do not use financial services to save or borrow money live in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Of those who are employed, many work in the global export manufacturing or agricultural labor force, and most of these workers are women. HERfinance uses a workplace-based, peer-education model similar to BSR’s sister program HERproject, which focuses on women’s health, to offer workshops that cover saving, budget, financial planning, responsible borrowing, and how to talk about finances with family members.

“Disney was proud to support the successful launch of HERfinance in India and we are pleased to be part of its expansion to new countries,” said Michael Widman, Disney’s Vice President, International Labor Standards. “HERfinance represents the kind of collaboration among workers, factory management, local NGOs, financial institutions, and companies that can drive real improvement in labor conditions by addressing the challenging systemic issues workers face."

With this additional support from Disney, BSR will be expanding HERfinance to Indonesia and Brazil, with new countries being considered for 2014. BSR is currently recruiting more companies to join HERfinance from the apparel, footwear, home-goods, retail, consumer electronics, food, agriculture, beverage, and horticulture industries. Companies interested in participation can email

About BSR

BSR works with its global network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.