Browse by Theme: Women's Economic Empowerment

We can’t achieve women’s financial inclusion without considering harmful social norms and trying to change them. This was the key message I shared during the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDC) annual Savings and Credit Forum in Bern earlier this month. The forum’s theme was ‘how to reach 1 billion women’ and I was there on behalf of CARE International UK and the CGAP Women’s Financial Inclusion Community of Practice to speak about how gendered social norms create barriers to women’s financial inclusion, and how to change them.

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This is the last in a series of blog posts marking Financial Inclusion Week and sharing valuable lessons from our POWER Africa (Promoting Opportunities for Women's Economic Empowerment in Rural Africa) project. As part of POWER Africa, CARE commissioned a study to assess the role that VSLAs play in building the poor’s resilience and ability to cope with economic shocks due to environmental crises and political unrest in Ethiopia and Burundi. Here we look at how VSLAs helped build the resilience of a single mother living in chronic poverty and we pull out four common findings from the study.

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Today, on World Savings Day, we are celebrating the VSLA model by sharing learning from CARE’s POWER Africa (Promoting Opportunities for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Africa) project. In our first blog in this series, we looked at VSLAs as an entry point for financial inclusion, but POWER Africa has shown that VSLAs can also have positive impacts across other areas of CARE’s work. Here we highlight some key lessons on adapting the VSLA model to the needs of adolescent girls.

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To mark Financial Inclusion Week, we are shining a spotlight on CARE’s POWER Africa (Promoting Opportunities for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Africa) project and the impact that savings-led financial inclusion has had on 750,000 people from poor households in rural areas of Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Rwanda. The project has produced some rich lessons for practitioners, which we will explore this week in a series of blog posts, starting with the process and impact of linking Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) to formal financial services.

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The UK government is increasingly highlighting the link between business and UK aid, and the need for aid spending to benefit the UK. For us at CARE the primary question has to be: does it economically empower poor women?

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CARE’s Regional Applied Economic Empowerment Hub in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region uses evidence from the ground, research, regional experience, and global thought leaders’ know-how to contribute to organisational and sectoral knowledge and innovation. The Hub is examining the challenges around efforts to bridge the gap between humanitarian assistance, development, and peace, to effectively eradicate poverty and achieve social justice, with a particular emphasis on empowering women and girls.

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Summary of the research by CARE’s Regional Applied Economic Empowerment Hub in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region on Doing Nexus Differently.

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