savings groups

Evidence Review of Women’s Groups and COVID-19: Impacts, Challenges, and Policy Implications for Savings Groups in Africa

It has been more than a year since COVID-19 lockdowns began, and economic recovery is a top priority for governments, donors, and international financial institutions (IFIs) worldwide, including in sub-Saharan Africa. Targeted investments that increase community resilience and spur economic growth will mitigate some of the negative economic consequences of this crisis. Investment in women’s economic resilience and social support is para- mount, considering that the crisis may reverse recent progress in gender equality. Around the world, women’s groups, such as self- help groups, savings groups, and health groups, play an important role in communities; evidence shows promise in their role in promoting women’s empowerment and economic outcomes. They encompass many models, but all bring women together around a shared purpose, such as financial inclusion, livelihoods, health, and women’s rights.
This brief focuses on one specific type of women’s group in sub-Saharan Africa: savings groups. Savings groups are a common form of women’s group and serve as a reliable mechanism for people in sub-Saharan Africa to save money. Members of savings groups pool small weekly savings into a common fund, which members can then borrow against, creating opportunities for investments and women’s empowerment. Savings groups show mixed, but promising, results in improving economic and social outcomes. This brief, written by a consortium of researchers and practitioners, presents emerging evidence from studies in diverse African contexts— with a deep dive into Nigeria and Uganda—on how COVID-19 has affected savings groups and how these groups have helped mitigate the pandemic’s negative consequences in sub-Saharan Africa.
This report is 23 pages long. Read More...

Women’s involvement in coffee agroforestry value- chains Financial training, village savings and loans associations, and decision power in Northwest Vietnam

Colleagues in Vietnam and at CCAFS and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) carried out some research on our work in the coffee value chain (TEAL).

This study assessed VSLA impacts and related training on gender equality and women’s access to coffee markets in an ongoing coffee- project in northwest Vietnam.

Applying the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), women rated perceptions of their decision-making over a range of 18 tasks related to household and agricultural responsibilities and use of income and social activities (over 18 months). There were improvements in decision-making power in categories with previously low participation and increased sharing of domestic responsibilities (biggest gains were decision-making over large purchases and use of income). Also found that husbands to women in the study embraced more equal sharing of responsibility and decision-making with their wives.
This report is 40 pages long. Read More...

Beyond Economic Empowerment The Influence of Savings Groups on Women’s Public Participation in Fragile and (post) Conflict-Affected Settings Every Voice Counts

Women’s meaningful participation and influence in public processes in fragile and (post) conflict-affected settings (FCAS) is not only necessary to achieve inclusive development but is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, in most contexts, men are overrepresented in decision-making and women do not have equal voice in the decisions that affect their lives. Some evidence suggests that the economic empowerment of women opens up opportunities for them to participate in public decision-making processes. One such means for economic empowerment in FCAS is savings groups. Savings groups are small, community-based groups that can provide members a safe space to save money, take small loans, and make investment decisions. Globally, women have made advances in improving their income and access to savings, as well as increased their entrepreneurial endeavours as a result of their participation in savings groups. Research also shows that women’s participation in savings groups improves their confidence, skills, and ability to influence household decision-making. This prompts the question: do these benefits of women’s participation in savings groups extend into the public sphere? In other words, does women’s participation in savings groups influence their public participation1 and decision-making? Through a mixed methods investigation across five countries (18 villages) in Africa and South Asia (Burundi, Mali, Niger, Pakistan, and Sudan), using CARE’s Gender Empowerment Framework, this research investigated the differences in outcomes between women who participate in savings groups under three CARE programmes: Every Voice Counts (EVC), Women on the Move (WoM), and Latter Day Saints Charities (LDS) Recovery Support for Vulnerable Households programmes [74 pages]. Read More...

Improving Adolescent Reproductive Health and Nutrition through Structural Solutions in West Hararghe Zone, Oromia, Ethiopia Abdiboru Project Final

The final evaluation is divided into three parts, qualitative, quantitative and triangulation final reports.
Triangulation: this project objective was to empower girls through improved reproductive health, nutrition, and education in rural West Hararghe, Ethiopia. It examines the effectiveness of two different set of interventions- a combination of structural and induvial interventions Vs structural, individual, and community level interventions against a control group. Ethiopia is one of the countries in the world characterized by high level of early marriage. In most cases, when girls marry, they move to their husband’s household and are socially isolated, work long hours, and have very little say in decisions that affect them. Keeping girls in schools is essential to their future wellbeing, and Ethiopia has made significant progress on its commitments. But in rural areas, it has been difficult to achieve high levels of secondary schooling for girls. Nutrition is deeply interconnected with reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. Household gender dynamics often mean that girls are more food-insecure than their male counterparts. Female adolescents, those living in a household with food insecurity and high dependency ratio are more likely to suffer from household food allocation. Schooling, early marriage and nutritional status and overall girls’ empowerment are interrelated maters. They have a complex relationship one affecting the other significantly.

Addressing the issues in package is believed to bring the maximum benefit in improving the social, health and development of adolescent girls and thus empowering them in multiple dimensions. Yet programs that focus sectorally, targeting health indicators of women and girls while ignoring the broader context that radically constricts their choices, have not generated significant or sustained impact over the long term. The structural context in which girls live is the main driver of their reproductive, maternal, and nutritional health and educational opportunities. Read More...

Niong Axe transversal Gouvernance et Gestion de proximité du projet Partenariat pour l’Apprentissage Final Evaluation

Le système éducatif haïtien fait face à des défis considérables sur le plan de l’accès, de la qualité et surtout de la gouvernance. CARE, par le biais du projet partenariat pour l’apprentissage, vise à appuyer les MENFP à adresser ces défis, avec une insistance sur l’amélioration de la gouvernance du système éducatif haïtien. Ainsi, dans l’axe gouvernance et gestion de proximité dudit projet, CARE cherche à créer, former et accompagner des structures de gestion de proximité. A travers cet axe, le projet vise à Renforcer la gouvernance scolaire et locale pour une amélioration de la qualité de l’éducation fondamentale en Haïti. De manière spécifique, le projet cherche à appuyer la mise en application d’un système scolaire décentralisé par le renforcement de capacité et l’implication des structures de gestion de proximité et des cadres locaux.
Les principaux résultats attendus de l’intervention sont : a) Les structures de gestion de proximité créées, renforcées et formées, élaborent, mettent en œuvre et suivent des plans d’action qui contribuent à la rétention et à l’équité de genre, b) Les structures déconcentrées de l’Etat et cadres locaux exercent leur leadership pour la bonne mise en œuvre de la politique éducative et sont plus redevables face à la communauté. Pour mettre en œuvre ce projet, une enveloppe d’un million six cent vingt-neuf quatre-vingt-onze euros (1,629,091.00 €) a été mobilisée avec une contribution de 50% de l’Agence Français de Développement (AFD) [43 pages]. Read More...

Integrated GBV prevention and response in Northeast Nigeria Endline Report

Context The ECHO-GBV prevention and response is an integrated GBV and livelihood project which was implemented as an entry point for CARE Nigeria into GBV-standalone initiatives. The project was funded by European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) under the supervision of CARE France. The project anticipated to provide direct service to displaced vulnerable women, men, girls, and boys and vulnerable host community members in Bama and Ngala, majority of the project participants were women and girls and indirectly benefits to the larger community. The intervention was anticipated to reach a total of 7,832 project participants. The global objective of the project was to contribute to the protection of the lives of vulnerable women, men, girls, and boys most affected by the crisis in northeastern Nigeria. The specific objective of the project was to enhance the access of newly displaced, vulnerable women, men, girls, and boys to life-saving GBV prevention and response services through coordinated, principled humanitarian support and community-based prevention activities. The project had six expected results:
• R 1. GBV prevention, care, and response services available and accessible to newly displaced individuals and vulnerable host community members at risk of or affected by GBV.
• R 2. Awareness, knowledge, and application of humanitarian principles and SEA prevention and response principles improved among humanitarian actors and security forces.
An end-line study was conducted as a part of the project monitoring and evaluation strategies and framework to review its projects before, during, and after the post-implementation phase. The endline was conducted by CARE Nigeria in August 2020 [31 pages]. Read More...

Integrated GBV Prevention and Response to the Emergency Needs of Newly Displaced Women, Men, Girls, and Boys in Borno State, North-East Nigeria Final Report

Under the European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) funding with support of CARE France, CARE Nigeria to implement a Gender Based Violence in Emergencies project. The project was implemented in Bama and Ngala Local Government Areas (LGAs) – Northeast, the goal of the project was to contribute to the protection of the lives of vulnerable women, men, girls, and boys most affected by the crisis in North-eastern Nigeria. The evaluation survey showed that beneficiaries in both intervention LGAs were aware of GBV issues and referral pathways facilitated by the project. There was an increase in the awareness of beneficiaries from the mid-term evaluation; as more respondents were more likely to make a report on GBV related incidences (i.e. sexual violence, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and forced marriages). Based on analyzed evaluation data, of the total number of beneficiaries interviewed, the following project activities were most effective in increasing beneficiary GBV knowledge e.g. Use of GBV champions - 87.5% (Ngala 32.9% and Bama 54.6%), Sensitization activities – 91.5% (55.5% in Bama and 36% in Ngala) and provision of livelihood assistance – 66.8% (43.5% in Bama and 23.3% in Ngala).
At the final evaluation, awareness amongst beneficiaries was greater in Bama than Ngala; as project-driven sensitization activities emerged as the predominant means by which beneficiaries were informed of GBV issues and accompanying referral pathways by the project. In spite of CARE Nigeria not having an on the ground presence in Ngala at the time of the final evaluation study (i.e. due to the lack of funding for GBV interventions since August 2020); interviewed beneficiaries remained knowledgeable of GBV issues and referral pathways. [122 pages] Read More...

Digital Subwallets and Household Dialogues

This document reports the results of a women's financial inclusion intervention in rural Uganda from 2017 to 2019. Two innovations were tested among adult females: (1) a mobile banking service with digital subwallet folders labelled for women and (2) the same service coupled with a course of seven household counselling sessions aimed at equalizing the influence of women and men in the context of family money management.

The theory of change underpinning the project recognized that women's power over their own money, as well as their participation in household decision-making were very limited. Providing married women with greater autonomy and voice in household decision-making, it was proposed, would facilitate achievement of their own financial goals especially those believed to alleviate poverty, such as keeping children in school. The mobile banking service was meant to provide privacy and autonomy, while achieving voice was expected to occur as the result of the couples counselling sessions, which emphasized transparency, sharing, and collaboration. Importantly, the theory of change recognized that women's experience of empowerment takes place in the context of a struggle against disempowerment and often entails group solidarity.

The research was multimethod: a randomized controlled trial (RCT), administration of two scientifically validated psychological scales, bank data on the accounts, two exhaustive surveys, and 100 semi-structured interviews. The sample size was 1,423. The research design had two treatment groups and a control. Read More...

Nigeria VSLA COVID-19 Survey September 2020

CARE is working with women in savings groups to better understand their needs in COVID-19 and how they are already leading and adapting to cope with the crisis. This is the first of 3 planned rounds of data collection to better understand how women's needs are evolving during the crisis. The findings in this survey are informing CARE's programming for VSLAs in Nigeria and globally. Read More...

Malawi VSLA Survey for COVID-19 September 2020

CARE is working with women in savings groups to better understand their needs in COVID-19 and how they are already leading and adapting to cope with the crisis. This is the first of 3 planned rounds of data collection to better understand how women's needs are evolving during the crisis. The findings in this survey are informing CARE's programming for VSLAs in Malawi and globally. Read More...

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