GEWEP II: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Programme II Final Report
Publication Date: 01/09/2020
GEWEP II works with and for poor and vulnerable women and girls. More than 8 160 000 women and girls live in our programme areas, and the end programme target is to directly work with 1 022 200.
The main impact is through Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs). The VSLA model came out of a pilot in Niger in the early 90s. Nearly 30 years later, there are more than 6.7 million VSLA members across the globe. Other organisations and governments have adopted CARE’s model, thereby multiplying impact. GEWEP continued to scale up VSLAs, and advocated for governments to recognize the model. The Governments of Burundi, DRC, Niger and Rwanda all recognize the important contribution of VSLAs to women’s economic empowerment, manifested within national strategies, policies and funds.
Women’s economic empowerment opens up for women’s participation. GEWEP supported women to come together and find confidence and common cause through VSLAs. We find VSLA women who actively participate in decision-making in formal structures, and who manage to stay there despite resistance from some men. This is the main success for women’s participation, across countries.
The shrinking space for civil society remains the most difficult challenge. In all countries, CARE’s main approach was to maintain good relations with those that are directly engaging with the field of women’s rights or who control the implementing areas or relevant political processes. This approach was successful in terms of preserving enough working space for CARE, GEWEP partners and other civil society actors working in the same field.