Browse by Theme: Women's Economic Empowerment

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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CARE has spent more than 20 years engaging with women employed in garment factories. As with many organisations working with the garment industry, worker training is an important component of any factory engagement. However, our evidence increasingly suggests that for changes to go beyond the individual level, training alone is not enough, and we need to support and enable workers so that they can collectively take action.

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This report, based on research into CARE humanitarian interventions in Niger, analyses whether community-led savings groups and income-generation activities can represent a way not only to respond to crises, but also to increase women’s economic empowerment, even in highly fluid contexts.

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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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Women on the Move is a CARE regional strategy to mobilise savings groups in West Africa, so that women and girls can assert their basic economic and social rights. Evidence has shown that women-led savings groups are a powerful platform for promoting women’s economic empowerment, women’s voices and gender equality. Our aim is that 8 million women and girls between the age of 15 and 64 will be economically and socially empowered through savings groups by 2020. This report examines our progress in reaching that goal and shares some lessons learned so far.

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We usually think of women in CARE’s projects as beneficiaries or participants, but they are so much more powerful than that. Women who work in CARE’s programmes use their skills to build businesses, create jobs, keep fresh produce in markets, and respond to emergencies. Let’s flip the narrative. Instead of pointing to these women as people CARE helps, why don’t we treat them as the powerhouses they are? They are helping to grow national economies, sometimes for as little as 5 cents a week.

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