Browse by Theme: Women's Economic Empowerment

In Tanzania a group has gathered to purchase shares, grow their savings, access loans and do their book-keeping. Regular financial sector activities, but with a difference. These are the activities of the Tushikamane Paris group – an informal savings group of 24 women and 6 men from the hinterland of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Many from this community live on the poverty line, although some manage to make a little extra cash through selling surplus vegetables, crafts or making and selling snacks, amongst other small-scale enterprises. Despite having very limited funds, members of the Tushikamane Paris group manage to grow their savings every week, without fail.

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A recent IMF ‘staff paper’ (i.e. this is not the official view of the organisation, but they’re not disagreeing with it either...) provides additional support to CARE’s fight for financial inclusion by showing that four of the dimensions of financial development – access, depth, efficiency and stability – can significantly reduce income inequality and poverty.

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Ahead of the Syria conference in London in early February, donors and governments in the region are working closely to agree a new plan for responding to the refugee crisis in the region. The private sector will be critical to its success.

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Financial inclusion is a key enabler for the Sustainable Development Goals – but its key role will only be fulfilled if civil society, government and the private sector can work together really effectively.

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On Friday 25 September, together with DFID and UN Women, CARE will bring together government, international organisations, business and civil society at the ‘Transforming Economies: Empowering Women and Girls’ event (during the UNGA summit to approve the new Sustainable Development Goals). Participants come in their roles as leaders, decision makers, and activists. On Friday hopefully they will also come as change makers.

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The private sector is a main actor involved in women’s economic empowerment in rural value chains: large traders, retailers or manufacturers often hold the keys to improving women’s access to extension services, financial services, input provision, market information and technology. They also have the negotiating power to help put gender equality on the agenda of producers’ associations and cooperatives.

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Village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) have been a powerful tool for enabling millions of women to access loans, set up small businesses and improve their quality of life. But as an evaluation of a CARE VSLA programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has shown, VSLAs can also be a platform for addressing the social norms that sustain gender inequality, and can therefore also contribute to the wider and more complex processes of women’s empowerment.

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