Browse by Theme: Entrepreneurs

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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When I travelled to Zimbabwe at the end of last year to conduct the annual evaluation of our two microfinance partners there, I arrived just as its latest economic crisis was unfolding. So I was able to see for myself how peer-to-peer funders like Lendwithcare can play a critical role in supporting entrepreneurs and their businesses in unstable environments.

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Women still have fewer economic rights, less access to economic opportunities and less control over economic resources than men due to a range of social, legal and political inequalities. Women’s economic empowerment (WEE) is one of four priority areas for CARE’s work, as set out in the CARE 2020 Programme Strategy. This report articulates why and how we work to drive women’s economic empowerment, our reach and impact to date and some lessons we have learned along the way.

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A CARE Nepal project helped women find a way out of poverty using training and ID cards. One woman in the project got her first citizenship card at age 21 even though she had been married for 8 years already. She told us that, before the project she wasn’t allowed to say her husband’s name. Now, she’s running a business that can pull her out of poverty. Find out more about what this project achieved for women's ecomomic empowerment in Nepal.

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Masuda, Shankori and Shilpi are entrepreneurial midwives who are improving health access in one of the most remote districts in Bangladesh, where maternal and under-5 mortality rates have fallen dramatically in recent years. These powerful women are also generating more income for their families and changing social norms. Having met them on a trip to Bangladesh, Kate Barwise considers what can be learned from their successes and how to support more women like them to help more communities.

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For 27 years CARE has worked with communities to support Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) so that women living in poverty can save, invest and improve their lives. Our new Global Reach report shows astounding progress in the global spread and impact of these community-based financial solutions. Today 6.7 million people across 46 countries are saving and managing more than US$433 million per year through CARE VSLAs. Ahead of the SEEP Network SG2018 global savings group conference in Rwanda this week, this success prompts the question: ‘‘how many more women and girls could benefit from participating in a VSLA?”

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Together with a colleague, Professor Malcolm Harper, I recently spent 18 months researching and editing a book on Islamic microfinance – which is defined as Shari’ah compliant financial services for poor people. Here are some of the key findings.

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