Women's Economic Empowerment

ETUDE DE BASE PROJET ESPOIR POUR ‘‘L’INSERTION SOCIO-ECONOMIQUE DES FEMMES/FILLES DES CAEF’’

Dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre du projet ESPOIR pour l’Appui à l’initiation à l’entreprenariat et à la structuration des apprenantes des Centres d’Autonomisation des Femmes de Kaloum-Cameroun-Mamou exécuté par CARE et financé par l’Agence Belge de Développement-ENABEL et sera exécuté en partenariat avec AID, et la DGCAEF. S’il est évident que les résultats de l’étude serviront à mesurer l’impact du projet, il convient de rappeler que l’objectif de cette étude est de recueillir dans la zone du projet, des données fiables permettant de déterminer la situation de référence dans les communautés ciblées au démarrage du projet ESPOIR afin de pouvoir apprécier les changements produits au terme de sa mise en œuvre contractuelle.

Les apprenantes bénéficiaires directes des CAEF et leurs chefs de ménages, les populations (hommes et femmes) bénéficiaires indirects et les partenaires de mise en œuvre ont constitués les principales cibles de l’étude qui a été réalisée en avril 2022. L’étude a démarré avec la conception des outils de collecte, puis a suivi la formation des agents de collecte, y compris leurs superviseurs ; ensuite la collecte à proprement dire des données quantitatives et qualitatives dans les régions de Mamou et Conakry (Kaloum et Dixinn).

En termes d’approche méthodologique, la mission tire ses constats des entretiens approfondis individuels et de ménages, et auprès de plusieurs groupes de discussion au sein des communautés ciblées (des groupes hommes et femmes dont des groupes homogènes d’adultes et des jeunes) avec les différents partenaires ; en termes d’entretiens individuels et de ménages les enquêtes ont touché 195 personnes (dont 117 apprenantes et 96 chefs/cheffes de ménages).
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Gender Norms Study: Women-led Micro and Small Businesses – Peru

Social Norms are the rules that govern behavior. Gender norms are social norms defining acceptable and appropriate actions for women and men in a given group or society. They are embedded in formal and informal institutions, nested in the mind, and produced and reproduced through social interaction. They play a role in shaping women and men’s (often unequal) access to resources and freedoms, thus affecting their voice, power, and sense of self. The purpose of this study was to identify gender barriers, perceptions and factors that limit shared responsibility in the home and which influence the low participation of men in domestic and care work. Read More...

Gender Norms Study: Women-led Micro and Small Businesses – Pakistan

Social Norms are the rules that govern behavior. Gender norms are social norms defining acceptable and appropriate actions for women and men in a given group or society. They are embedded in formal and informal institutions, nested in the mind, and produced and reproduced through social interaction. They play a role in shaping women's and men’s (often unequal) access to resources and freedoms, thus affecting their voice, power, and sense of self. The purpose of this study was to gain quantitative and qualitative information about gender norms faced by women entrepreneurs in Pakistan related to childcare responsibilities and financial decision-making and responsibility, which impact a woman’s ability to run and grow her own business Read More...

Gender Norms Study: Women-led Micro and Small Businesses – Vietnam

Social Norms are the rules that govern behavior. Gender norms are social norms defining acceptable and appropriate actions for women and men in a given group or society. They are embedded in formal and informal institutions, nested in the mind, and produced and reproduced through social interaction. They play a role in shaping women and men’s (often unequal) access to resources and freedoms, thus affecting their voice, power and sense of self. The purpose of this study was to gain quantitative and qualitative information about social and gender norms affecting women entrepreneurs in Vietnam related to childcare responsibilities, who should be the breadwinner and who is upholding these norms. Read More...

Solar Harnessed Entrepreneurs (SHE) Baseline Assessment: Promoting Productive Use of Energy (PUE) for Women and Girls in Sierra Leone

This report presents findings from a baseline assessment conducted to provide contextual analysis of the Solar Harnessed Entrepreneurs (SHE) project’s target population, capturing initial data against selected indicators in the project Results Framework. The SHE project aims to provide women groups and individual run enterprises with a package of support, including financing for energy-enabled appliances, training in their use and an enhanced market access and linkages with the aim to leverage the new access to energy for business growth. The ideal setting of the project is to cover over 330 newly enabled businesses by engaging 7,120 women, living in Sierra Leone’s mini-grid locations.
Although quantitative data collection was largely used to get primary information using structured questionnaires for personal interviews, the research team also used qualitative methods through Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), with respondents drawn from the renewable energy sector/mini-grid power stations. The study also used Focus Group Discussion (FGD) guides to interview Project’s target groups and individual women entrepreneurs in the study areas. The coverage of the assessment was to include twenty (20) communities in all seven (7) intervention districts (Bo, Bonthe, Moyamba, Pujehun, Kambia, Koinadugu and Bombali), but based on initial targets for the first phase of implementation, only sixteen (16) communities were reached during the assessment.
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Evaluating System-level change and impact Findings from the evaluation of the SAMARTHYA project in Nepal

CARE’s ten-year strategy, Vision 2030, seeks to deepen the organizational focus on systems-level change and impact to support CARE’s mission to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. To support this, CARE launched a systems-level impact initiative to measure the effect of our programs that have influenced or changed systems, and the impact that this systems-change had on people’s lives. The initiative also increased capacity across the CARE confederation to design and implement high-quality systems change programs, and to strengthen the focus on systems-level change within our Country Office organizational frameworks and strategies. Four CARE Country Offices were selected to evaluate one systems-level program, and to synthesize the results and learning of this evaluation for national and global knowledge translation Read More...

Evaluating System-level change and impact Findings from the evaluation of the National Policy Regulatory Program Support (NPRPS) program in Uganda

CARE’s ten-year strategy, Vision 2030, seeks to deepen the organizational focus on systems-level change and impact, recognizing that this is essential to expanding CARE’s reach and fulfilling our mission to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. To support this, CARE launched a systems-level impact initiative to measure the effect of our programs that have influenced or changed systems, and the impact of this systems-change on people’s lives. The initiative also increased capacity across the CARE confederation to design, finance, and implement high-quality systems change programs, and to strengthen the focus on systems-level change within our Country Office organizational frameworks and strategies. Four CARE Country Offices were selected to evaluate a project or program and to synthesize the results for national and global learning. Read More...

Study on the sustainability of GRAD structures and outcomes

This study conducted by PDCR aims to better understand the sustainability and functionally of the processes and elements of GRAD-I as well as the different actors and structures supported and established by the project. And as such this report will focus on VESAs, household/value chains, agro-dealers, FEMAs/Cooperatives, micro-franchise, multi-stakeholders platform and access to finance after the project ended and will cover the period from December 2016 until September 2019.

Background
The Graduation with Resilience to Achieve Sustainable Development (GRAD) project (hereafter referred to as the project) was a five-year USAID-funded project which began in December 2011 and ended in December 2016. Its strategic objective was to graduate a minimum of 50,000 chronically food-insecure households from the Ethiopian Government’s (GoE’s) Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). Additionally, it aimed to increase each household’s income by $365 by the project’s fifth year in 16 Woredas in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR). During the implementation of the project combined “push” and “pull” model into a complete and integrated package of interventions and within this model the project at times established and/or the above-mentioned actors.

Methodology
Accordingly, desktop reviews of relevant documents including the project final evaluation, suitability and exit plan as well as a variety of reports were undertaken. The study team collected quantitative and qualitative information from 330 VESAs, 1,066 households, 188 saleswomen, 21 agro-dealers, 31 FEMAs/cooperatives. Furthermore, it consulted with representatives from multi-stakeholder platforms groups, Woreda FSTF, MFIs/RuSACCOs and participating wholesalers linked to the project.
Key findings:
VESAs:
56% of the VESAs established and supported by the project are still active as members were able to benefit from their membership, improve their saving and loan management, improve loan repayment mechanisms, were able to share out on time and at critical times, have structured and transparent management committee. These groups develop their members’ social capital, have a strong sense of trust, have benefited from their family’s support. The active VESA have reasonable membership size, common interest and have managed receive continued support.
42% of the VESAs established are inactive as members lost confidence and the interest right after the project ended. Members did not clearly understand the value of the VESAs, some faced internal conflicts, others such as the groups in Sidama and Gurage Zones were affected by drought and security issues. Overall, the inactive VESAs have received less support especially those established in the later part of the project. On a positive side, in Tigray few groups dissolved their VESAs as there was no needed since they now have started saving at banks and can access credit from MFIs.
2% of VESAs have transformed into RuSACCOs. Those who managed to this transformation was encouraged by some of their members who already were also member to a RuSACCO. The VESAs were not encouraged due to RuSACCO’s principle that supported individual membership to join already established RuSACCOs; and groups would rather retain their VESA as they feel they have full control and do not want to lose their social capital.
Active VESAs were formed on a voluntary base and were given adequate briefing about the purpose of the group. In contrast, the inactive VESAs members were mainly selected and groups were formed by project staffs.
Active VESAs remained together and have not sought to split into smaller groups as they value the social capital created within the group and prefer to work as a one team. Dissimilarly, 53% of the currently inactive groups did separate to form smaller groups, mainly due to internal conflicts, dissatisfaction regarding members selection methods and lack of management skills amongst the leadership.
Across all study areas, all VESAs were found have bylaws and in the case of Tigray and Amhara regions, some groups internally agreed and have amended their bylaws articles related to saving amounts, loan repayment mechanisms and interest rates reflecting their needs.
Active VESAs have successfully built social cohesion, capital, are a safe and fertile environment for training, social and cultural norms discussion platforms that may impede development drives and contribute to food security (e.g. gender inequality, infant feeding practices, etc.).
On average 61% of the active VESAs have been able to increase their savings size while only 13% reporting a decrease. Those who reported a decrease was directly associated to their inability to save as family expenses have escalated and they were unable to generate more income in order to save.
In all the study areas, the groups have paid share out every year in May and June. Their average value of liquid savings during the last share-out was 28,282 Birr with an average group share out of 1,444 Birr ($51) and an internal loan size of 26,649 Birr.
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Closing The Financial Inclusion Gap in Rwanda (CFIGR) Project

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. Read More...

PENNIES TO POWER FINAL REPORT

Globally, women have access to 10% of the available credit, 7% of the training on productive activities and are 40% less likely to have access to agricultural inputs than men. Women also have limited technological inputs and market access, and only 4.3% of women have access to agricultural extension services. Although women provide about 50% of the agricultural workforce, they still lack equal access to productive resources.

Due to looming threats including climate change, an estimated 20% increase in hunger is predicted by 2050. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic aftermath likely will push 426 million more people into poverty in the next three to five years. Responding to these challenges requires creative solutions that prioritize the most vulnerable, including women and young people. To this end, CARE implemented the Pennies to Power program with generous support from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. This final report describes the program’s accomplishments over the full implementation period (June 1, 2019 to June 1, 2022).

Pennies to Power played a critical role in building resilience and increasing the capacity of people to cope with crises. Moreover, it helped create thriving and sustainable communities, where farmers prosper, people are empowered, and the planet is healthier. CARE implemented the program in Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania to build resilience, unlock market access for women and youth, and ensure they are economically and socially empowered through savings groups known as village savings and loan associations (VSLAs). Moreover, the program contributed to the achievement of the following U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): No Poverty (SDG 1), Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Gender Equality (SDG 5), and Climate Action (SDG 13).
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