Browse by Theme: Livelihoods

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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Cash support in times of crisis can keep markets functioning, keep money flowing to small businesses that desperately need it, and save lives and livelihoods at the same time – because it means people can get what they need, when they need it. As a woman in Bangladesh told us: “People are unable to go out for working. People are having difficulty getting their daily necessities. We are being told to wash hands frequently. We are having trouble buying necessary items as it is, how will we afford handwashing soaps? … In this case, cash support might be more helpful.”

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How much rubbish do you generate every day? If you live in America, it’s more than 2kg every day. If you live in Australia or the UK, the average is about 1.5kg a day. In Zambia, that number is about 0.4kg (figures from World Bank). Even in Zambia, that’s a lot of rubbish to deal with.

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In a politically volatile environment, CARE is working to implement Community Development Forums (CDF) in tea estates in Sri Lanka. The CDFs are delivered in partnership with the tea workers, estate management and trade union representatives and aim to break-down barriers to show how tea communities can collaborate to achieve social and business benefits. In December 2018 I travelled to Bandarawella to understand more about how CARE’s partnership with the tea company, Twinings is supporting the establishment of CDFs to deliver transformational change.

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In the West Bank and Gaza, CARE helped farmers raise milk production by 10% and reduced the cost of water by 80%. To achieve this it wasn’t enough to look at just a farmer’s skills or livestock techniques. We had to look at the whole market system and use rigorous research to guide the programmes. In the West Bank and Gaza, although the market system faces threats every day, it’s still the best bet for sustainable change. Here is what we achieved and how we did it.

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Denis Tumwesige used to make his living illegally cutting trees in protected forests in Uganda, until he got arrested. Instead of a jail sentence, the local officials connected him with CARE’s Forest Resources Sector Transparency (FOREST) project, which taught him about the importance of forest conservation. Denis then wrote a song about forests, which is a huge hit, and is routinely played on national radio. The song succeeded in raising awareness of forest policies. Here is what else the project achieved. 

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In Egypt’s VSLAs, the number of women who have worried about money in the last 30 days has been cut nearly in half. Why? Because women are saving $58 a year now—2.7 times more than they used to. They are also able to take out loans, and are more than 6 times more likely to be involved in a business where they make money. 77% say their incomes have gone up.

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