Browse by Theme: Women's Economic Empowerment

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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For the people we work with and for, the divisions and brick walls between humanitarian and development work do not make sense. So why does the sector keep this division as the norm, rather than the exception?

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Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) have been a cornerstone of CARE International’s programmes for over 25 years, and we have plenty of evidence of their ability to impact women’s lives positively. However, we have also learned that gender norms and power dynamics can reduce the impact on women unless we tackle them directly.

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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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