Browse by Theme: Financial Inclusion

COVID-19 has become an unprecedented and unpredictable global crisis. It is “a defining moment in human history”.  COVID-19 has affected everyone, but not equally so. The pandemic is exploiting and exposing deep structural inequalities in economies, health care systems, and societies around the world, with devastating and disproportionate effects on the most vulnerable people, particularly those who live in development and humanitarian settings. Single mothers working in garment factories have lost their jobs and households’ only income,  while the pandemic is exacerbating other families’ food insecurity.  For those living in areas where conflict has destroyed healthcare facilities, COVID-19 poses a uniquely terrible and acute danger.

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COVID-19 has become an unprecedented and unpredictable global crisis. It is “a defining moment in human history”.  COVID-19 has affected everyone, but not equally so. The pandemic is exploiting and exposing deep structural inequalities in economies, health care systems, and societies around the world, with devastating and disproportionate effects on the most vulnerable people, particularly those who live in development and humanitarian settings. Single mothers working in garment factories have lost their jobs and households’ only income,  while the pandemic is exacerbating other families’ food insecurity.  For those living in areas where conflict has destroyed healthcare facilities, COVID-19 poses a uniquely terrible and acute danger.

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Microfinance organisations serve approximately 140 million low-income people around the world. And the vast majority of these are women (roughly 80%), who live in rural areas (roughly 65%) . At the end of March when the world was starting to wake up to the harsh social and economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of these institutions suddenly found themselves wondering if/how they were going to survive this global crisis.

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The paper provides findings and recommendations about how Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) can be a platform to challenge patriarchal structures that discriminate against and normalise violence against women and girls.

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As the climate crisis makes natural disasters a daily reality for people around the world, communities and humanitarian organisations are looking for ways to mitigate risks and build resilience. In 2019, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai – which ravaged the coast of southern Africa – CARE’s Emergency Shelter Advisor, Crystal Whitaker, travelled to Malawi to support recovery and learn how communities were using simple savings groups to break the devastating cycle where repeat floods would wipe out homes and livelihoods, forcing families to start over again and again. Below she shares seven lessons for practitioners looking to build longer-term risk mitigation measures into shorter emergency or preparedness programmes.

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When women are able to come together in safe spaces, they can use their collective power and voice to bring about change for a more equitable world. Women on the Move (WOM) is a CARE regional strategy launched in 2016 that mobilises savings groups in West Africa, so that women and girls can assert their basic rights. This report assesses CARE’s progress on this Impact Growth Strategy to date and shares success stories and challenges going forward.

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CARE has been working with Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) since we first launched the model in Niger in 1991. Over the years, VSLAs have reached more 7.6 million members, 81% of them women. The economic impacts of the VSLA groups are well documented. Less formally documented is the impact that VSLAs have on women themselves and on the social fabric of their communities.

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