VSLA By the Numbers: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Impact and ROI of VSLAs

Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) have been a foundational programmatic approach at CARE since 1991. Since then, CARE has helped over 13.7 million people join savings groups. The savings group model has been adopted and adapted by a variety of organizations globally. Through this report, we will examine the social and financial effects and returns of savings groups as well as how groups affected members’ resilience to COVID-19. The results gave an overview of the financial return on investment (ROI), group economic outcomes, savings groups costs, and individual and household effects for savings groups both inside and outside of CARE.

In order to calculate a return on investment, the financial benefit for a typical participant over three years was considered as well as the financial benefits for a replicated VSLA for two years related to the cost that the donor/implementer spends to set up and oversee the VSLA for its first cycle. Using internal CARE data such as budgets, evaluation, and impact reports, the average ROI of costs to establish a saving group was between 7:1 and 20:1. For every $1 invested by CARE, there is evidence for the savings of a typical VSLA participant to increase between $7 and $20. For the average VSLA participant, median income increased by $9.35 (+/- $0.55 USD) within the first year of joining the group for each $1 USD invested. Additionally, average income increased by $18.85 (+/-$1.15 USD) within five years of each $1 USD invested. Using industry data and internal CARE data, this analysis showed that for every $250 USD invested three net new children attended school.

The financial effect of a VSLA appears to outlast the formal lifecycle of the group. Evaluation of VSLAs as they phased out found that the return on savings (ROS) was 50% (+/-10%) during the supported formal lifecycle of the group and decreased to around 35% (+/-19%) after the VSLA is phased out. However, the positive outcomes and impact of participating in VSLAs continue even after project phase out. Members continue saving and getting benefits. Share value even increase for 57% (+/-13%) of groups in the available data.

Menstrual Hygiene and Health Development Impact Bond

This report is focused on the experience, knowledge, attitude, and practices of menstrual health and hygiene. This involved generating understanding about the MHH knowledge, attitude, and practices among schoolgirls and adult women. It also aimed at creating an understanding of the experience of women and girls within the social norms and economic constraints and forwarding recommendations for future improvement. Read More...

Building sustainable and scalable peer-based programming: promising approaches from TESFA in Ethiopia

This research was written by Pari Chowdhary, Feven Tassaw Mekuria, Dagmawit Tewahido, Hanna Gulema, Ryan Derni, and Jefrey Edmeades.

In Ethiopia's Amara region, girls encounter child marriage at a high rate. They are also less able to negotiate sex or use family planning. With the purpose of improving their lives, CARE's TESFA program delivered reproductive health and financial savings curriculum to married girls through peer-based solidarity groups to 5,000 adolescent girls. This was divided into 3 interventions: sexual and reproductive health, economic empowerment, and a combination of both. Participants reported improvement in both areas. Four years after TESFA, 88% of groups communicated meeting without continued CARE's assistance, and some of the girl participants created new groups following the TESFA model. Also, some girls that did not participate in TESFA, replicated the model to create their own groups. Despite this, there is still in question who contributed to this sustainment and scale-up of groups.

Original article:
Originally published by Biomedcentral and is republished under the creative commons 4.0 license ( - Read More...

My Forest, My Livelihood, My Family program (FUTURES) Baseline report

The FUTURES—My Forest, My Livelihood, My Family program (FUTURES) serves communities in the Yayu Coffee Forest Biosphere Reserve (YCFBR) located in Southwestern Ethiopia, in Oromia Regional State. The YCFBR encompasses the Hurumu, Yayo, Bilo Nopa, Alge-Sachi, and Doreni woredas of Illu-Abba Bora zone and Chora woreda of Buno Bedele zone and includes protected forest area as well as designated areas for economic activities like coffee and spice production, commercial forest plantations and eco-tourism, and areas where many traditional and modern agricultural practices take place.
Households in the area depend on a combination of small-scale agricultural and forest management systems dominated by traditional agronomic practices and characterized by a lack of crop diversity and low productivity. Deforestation, degradation, and increased loss of biodiversity are major concerns for sustainable agricultural and livelihood practice in the region. Social, gender, and cultural barriers have historically limited women’s and youth’s engagement in agricultural and economic sectors. High rates of early and forced marriage, and limited availability of reproductive health and family planning services, especially youth-friendly services, may further limit women and youth from participating meaningfully in agricultural practice and livelihood generation. Government services and local civil society organizations in the area operate at a limited capacity, and their offices are male-dominated and do not meaningfully incorporate a gendered approach to their work (Gebrehanna and Seyoum, 2020).
The three-year FUTURES project was launched in April 2021 to address many of the health, environment, and livelihood concerns of the YCFBR region. The project is implemented by CARE Ethiopia and its three local partners, Oromia Development Association (ODA), Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF), and Kulich Youth Reproductive Health and Development Organization (KYRHDO). The FUTURES project evaluation, funded by USAID, and led by Data for Impact (D4I), aims to understand the impact of the FUTURES project on key health, agricultural, and livelihood and conservation behavioral outcomes, and to contribute to knowledge about the implementation of cross-sectoral programs, including monitoring, evaluations, and learning (MEL) of such programs. Read More...

Gender Analysis of CARE Ethiopia-Resilience in Pastoral Areas Activity (RiPA) North Project

The purpose of the gender analysis is to provide information on gender-related rights in pastoral context and unpacks issues, factors and reasons on how gender relations will affect the achievement of the RiPA goals. Moreover, it also aims at identifying the key and existing discriminatory social and gender norms that are relevant to and responsible for perpetuating gender inequality in the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in the targeted Regions and Woredas. To achieve this, CARE’s gender analysis framework called the ‘Good Practices Framework’ was used. The study was conducted in Somali, Afar and Oromia. Eight Woredas were selected from the 3 regions namely: Shabelle, Kebrebeya, Erer and Afdem from Somali region; Gewane and Afambo from the Afar region, and Babille and Meiso from the Oromia region. The survey, 40 KIIs and 56 FGDs data collection techniques were used to collect data from the targeted groups. A total of 402 (325 female and 77 male) participants took part in the survey. Read More...

Livelihoods, WASH and Protection Support to Drought and Conflict-Affected IDPs & Host Communities in Somali Region, Ethiopia

This report presented an end-line survey for the project entitled Livelihoods, WASH, and Protection Support to Drought and Conflict-Affected IDPs & Host Communities in Somali Region, Ethiopia. End line findings on WASH-related variables confirmed that the WASH response impacted the
life of the target community.

Integrated WASH and Multipurpose Cash Support to IDPs and host Communities in Oromia and Somali Regions

This report presented an end-line survey for the project entitled Integrated WASH and Multipurpose Cash Support to IDPs and host communities in Oromia and Somali Regions, Ethiopia. The endline survey objective was to assess the impact of a one-year project compared to the baseline dataset. The data collection was conducted from September 10-20, 2021. End line findings confirmed that the project impacted the life of the target community. Progress from baseline showed for most of the variables measured under this end line survey compared to baseline data. Read More...

Integrated Wash, Health And Protection Response To Covid-19 In West And East Hararghe Zones Of Oromia Region, Ethiopia

The report presented findings of end-line survey findings compared with baseline data for the same project. East and West Hararghe zones are located within the Oromia region, one of the largest and most populated regions of Ethiopia. Like many parts of Oromia and the country, over 80% of the people in East and West Hararghe rely on agricultural livelihoods. The main activities of the project are hygiene promotion, provision of hygiene supplies, hand washing facilities installation at health centers, and integrating protection actions. The project was implemented in Kersa and Babile Woredas of East Hararghe Zone and Meiso and Gumbibordode Woredas of West Hararghe Zone.
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RESET II Project Promoting Resilient Livelihoods in Borana Final Report

Purpose: The purpose of this end line evaluation is to assess the achievements, constraints and lessons learnt and to produce sufficient evidence to show how the project performed against its overall objective. Overview of the project: Funded by the European Union (EU) through its European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) with a total budget of Є6,586,291, the Promoting Resilient Livelihoods in Borana RESET II Project was implemented by a consortium of CARE Ethiopia, Oromo Self Help Organization (OSHO) and Action against Hunger (AAH). The project focused in the geographic area of Arero, Miyo, Dire, Moyale, Dillo and Dhas districts in the Borena Zone within the Oromia region. The overall aim of enhancing the resilience of 100,000 PSNP beneficiaries, reducing irregular migration through improved access and coverage to provision of WASH, health and nutrition services, diversifying and increasing livelihood opportunities and incomes, improving Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) capacity, enhancing research and knowledge management systems as well as reducing barriers to women empowerment, the project begun implementation October 2016 and end in December 2020. CARE’s Pastoralist Resilience Casual Model (PRCM) using proven CARE’S Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLA), Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (CVCA), Social Analysis and Action (SAA), Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) and AAH’s as well as Assisting Behavior change (ABC) methods and approaches were utilized throughout the project. Read More...

Water for Food Security, Women’s Empowerment and Environmental Protection Project (SWEEP) Gender Assessment II

East and West Belesa woredas (districts) are located in the central Gondar zone of Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia. The people of East and West Belesa woredas are dependent on subsistence farming and rain fed agriculture in a context of recurrent drought and severe land degradation. The overwhelming majority live in extreme poverty and face food shortages as a result of the frequent shocks these conditions expose them to. The condition is more devastating for women, girls and marginalized households – for example, female-headed households and households including persons with disability who are often excluded from social and economic entitlements.
CARE, with the financial support from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and funds from Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) has implemented a three years' (October 2017 to September 2020 – then extended to February 2021) project titled "Water for Food Security, Women's Empowerment and Environmental Protection (SWEEP)" to address the socio-economic and environmental problems causing food insecurity in 20 kebeles of east and west Belesa woredas. The project was implemented by CARE in collaboration with local government, communities and universities. To increase the resilience of households, the SWEEP project followed an integrated and holistic project implementation approach, which put marginalized people at the center.
At the end of the project period, a gender assessment was conducted to see and capture the changes in the lives of women; especially the results of the women empowerment and the social norms change components of the project. Findings from the Rapid Gender Assessment (May 2017) and In-depth gender Assessment (May 2018) were used as a baseline to compare the before and after situation of women in the community. This report is prepared to share the findings of the end line gender assessment II, which was conducted between December 14 and 23, 2020. Read More...

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