POWER Ex-Post Evaluation Final Report
Publication Date: 15/04/2019
Description of the document: Promoting Opportunities for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Africa (POWER Africa) aimed to increase the financial inclusion of direct beneficiaries and their households in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire and Burundi through forming savings groups, providing financial education, and linking mature groups to formal financial institutions. In Burundi, CARE worked in partnership with the local NGO, Great Lakes Inkinga Development, to target adolescent girls; the hardest hit by a combination of poverty, conflict, violence, societal disintegration, and sexual exploitation. The evaluation focuses on the program’s contribution to the empowerment of adolescent girls in Burundi with a particular focus on assessing the contribution of program activities to supporting adolescent girls develop income-generating activities. POWER Africa adapted their approach to ensure the intervention and engagement strategies were tailored to working with adolescent girls in Burundi. POWER Africa accomplished this through sensitization sessions to gain community acceptance of the program, by adapting the VSLA training schedule, by changing meeting times, and by responding to challenges encountered by girls during implementation. Positive outcomes reported by CARE related to business success were also supported by interviews conducted in the field. However, the extent to which participation resulted in adolescent girls establishing one or more IGA varies and CARE monitoring data shows that at least 1 in 5 girls did not establish IGAs. It was confirmed that key factors that contribute to IGA success, as identified by CARE, still hold. Girls without support are less able to establish IGAs and have relatively less successful IGAs. However, they are not necessary conditions. For example, the four girls that did not have continuous family support attributed overcoming their difficulties to being a member of the VSLA. Findings that girls who are in school reported higher incomes, that girls with community support are more able to invest in livestock, and that girls with access to land have more IGA opportunities, still hold. POWER Africa’s identification that male control of female-owned assets, loss of assets upon marriage, household responsibilities and constraints on mobility are key constraints for adolescent girls to benefit from IGA opportunities, still holds. During program implementation, many girls encountered barriers as a result of their newfound economic independence. The program actively sought to address these constraints with some success, however there is evidence to suggest a number of challenges remain. This is to be expected as social norms can take time to change. Lastly, regarding sustainability, the field research supported the idea that some of the IGAs created by the girls as a result of POWER Africa VSLA membership are sustainable as all of the girls said they still have their IGAs and plan to continue them in the future. All of the girls also planned to continue their membership of the VSLAs. Findings also suggest that the POWER Africa program positively influenced social norms relating to what activities are considered acceptable for girls to take part in, male control over assets and that participants are more resilient to environmental and economic shocks as a result of their improved financial position.