Closing The Financial Inclusion Gap in Rwanda (CFIGR) Project

Publication Date: 01/05/2022

From September 2019 to April 2022, MINECOFIN technically and financially collaborated with CARE to design and implement a project called the Closing Financial Inclusion in Rwanda (CFIGR) that aimed at closing the financial inclusion gap and promoting the long-term saving scheme (LTSS) among VSLA members. The main objectives of the projects were.
I. Improving the financial literacy levels and saving culture of 700,000 financially excluded (75% women) in 30 districts of Rwanda.
II. Increasing access to and use of appropriate and affordable customer centric products/ services for 560,000 financially excluded Rwandans.
III. Piloting effective transition to cashless payments, through the digitalization of at least 2080 of the supported saving groups’ operations/transactions and development and provision of technology based formal financial services. IV. Increasing LTSS subscriptions and sustained payments through VSLAs as platforms. V. Expanding the existing CARE’s Agents Network to cover all 14,837 villages as a community development advisory, catalyst, and support structure. Key Achievements Thanks to CFIGR project, CARE’s financial inclusion work now covers 30 Districts through 15,053 Village Agents supporting 39,776 village savings & loan groups (VSLGs) with over 1,087,154 members, 74% being women that have so far mobilized around RWF 25,352,861,314 ($ 25M USD) of total savings and use RWF 22,124,081,062 ($ 22M USD) of cumulative loans1 invested in groups ‘members income generating activities. The CARE-MINECOFIN partnership project has been able to contribute to closing the financial inclusion gap by organizing 440,036 financially excluded citizens (71% women) into 17,088 VSLAs. These VSLA members form part of the 745,459 people mapped at the beginning of the project as financial excluded representing 59% and are now financially included. In addition, 369,726 VSLAs members have access to formal financial services which include SACCOs, MFIs and Banks where they can save and borrow for personal needs.
To increase LTSS subscriptions and sustained payments through VSLAs, CARE integrated LTSS into financial literacy manual as an effective manner for VAs to deliver messages to VSLAs members and make informed choices; subscribe and persistently save through the long-term pension scheme. CARE trained and equipped master trainers with digital materials. Under the additional financial support of the UNCDF, 416 master trainers in each village were equipped with digital materials including tablets and animated videos to help mobilize, register, and follow up on LTSS payments by VSLA members. To date, 225,293 VSLA members (70% women and 21% youth) both from old and new VSLAs have registered in EjoHeza scheme. 197,151 members (68% women) are active savers and FRW 1,429,982,010 saved as annual contributions as of end April 2022.

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