Curiosity Collective: Evidence of social changes for women in savings groups

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.

Women often point to increases in self-confidence, independence, and a greater belief in their own ability to change things in their lives, as the VSLA impacts that are most important to them. Recognizing that the evidence around women’s increased self-confidence and solidarity to act is less systematically documented than the economic impact, in 2018 CARE’s West Africa regional team embarked on the Curiosity Collective, a review of more than 48 evaluations across CARE since 2010 that shed light on how women use the VSLA model to increase their human and social capital, in addition to their incomes. A combination of quantitative and qualitative evidence shows how VSLAs are transformative well beyond the act of saving and the ability to increase credit and incomes.

  • Countries: Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Togo
  • Co-authors: Emily Janoch, Kassie McIlvaine
  • Published: November 2019

Related Publications

Global Rapid Gender Analysis for COVID-19

This Rapid Gender Analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on secondary data analysis undertaken between 12-20 March 2020, explores the current and potential gendered dimensions of COVID-19 and highlights the ways in which women, girls and other... Read more...


Gender implications of COVID-19 outbreaks in development and humanitarian settings

This paper, based on lessons learned and analysis of prior public health crises in the developing world and humanitarian settings, aims to help ensure COVID-19 mitigation and response efforts take gender into account in appropriate and meaningful... Read more...


Why Climate Justice is a Gender Justice issue

This policy briefing from CARE International UK outlines why women must be a central part of the response to the climate crisis, and argues that the UK Government, as host of the COP26 UN climate talks in November 2020 in Glasgow, has an... Read more...


Understanding resilience: Perspectives from Syrians

This report, based on in-depth and community-based research, sought to examine resilience in Syria from the experiences and reflections shared by Syrians inside the country. The research focused on the following questions: What does resilience... Read more...



Supporting resilience in Syria – Women's experience of the conflict and the 'new normal'

This policy brief analyses how Syrian women have adopted new livelihood strategies, new ways of accessing education, and new gender roles; and makes recommendations for how donors, as well as humanitarian and development agencies, should promote... Read more...


Women on the Move Annual Report 2019

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... Read more...