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Initiatives to Support the Advancement and Health of Women Jennifer Schmidt, Senior Manager, FINCA International August 4, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Initiatives to Support the Advancement and Health of Women Jennifer Schmidt, Senior Manager, FINCA International August 4, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Initiatives to Support the Advancement and Health of Women Jennifer Schmidt, Senior Manager, FINCA International August 4, 2010

2 Microfinance and Women

3 Status of Women Globally 60% of the world’s poorest people are female Despite comprising more than 50% of the population, women own only 1% of the world’s wealth 55% of all children not attending school are girls 18% of parliamentarians are women “Development cannot be achieved if fifty percent of the population is excluded from the opportunities it brings.” – Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator “Gender and Poverty.” United Nations Development Programme “Gender Equality Factsheet.” DFID. Dec

4 Microfinance - Opportunity for Women Women comprise an estimated 67% of all microfinance clients Studies have shown that women are more likely to: *Repay loans and save *Invest earnings in their families’ health, nutrition, and education *Participate in groups that lessen the cost of delivering small loans “Virtuous spiral” of economic empowerment, improved household well-being, and social and political empowerment “Who are the clients of microfinance?” CGAP “Gender and Rural Finance: Reaching and Empowering Women.” IFAD. Aug 2009.

5 IFAD’s “Virtuous Spirals” Women’s economic empower- ment Household well-being Women’s social & political empower- ment Poverty reduction Economic growth Women’s human rights Financial Services Women’s repayment & premiums Women’s decisions on financial management Increased income under women’s control Women’s economic activity Increased status & changing roles “Gender and Rural Finance: Reaching and Empowering Women.” IFAD. Aug 2009.

6 FINCA International

7 FINCA’s Role Mission: to provide financial services to the world’s lowest- income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living Operates in 21 countries in Latin America, Eurasia, Africa, and the Greater Middle East Village bank model helps FINCA reach the most poor and rural populations As of April 2010, FINCA served 704,443 clients – 479,021 of whom are women (68%)

8 Case Studies

9 USDA Food for Progress in Uganda Overview Uganda’s HIV prevalence among highest in the world *High percentage of single mother and non-traditional headed households *Decreased productivity among family members *Increased number of AIDS orphans per household *Increased healthcare, educational, and food security costs *Reduced household assets to pay for emergency costs

10 6Average household size, typically headed by a widowed or divorced woman 1.7Average family members lost to AIDS over 5 years 2.5Average number of AIDS orphans being supported <$1Average daily income per beneficiary USDA Food for Progress in Uganda Clients 80% Clients belonging to an HIV- affected household 49% Clients with 1+ HIV- positive household members

11 Over 10,000 new clients served 98% Loan repayment rate 38% used FINCA assistance to cover medical expenses Clients less likely to liquidate household assets to pay for HIV-related expenses or emergencies School-age children more likely to attend school FINCA’s presence helped combat the spread of HIV by reducing poverty, promoting HIV awareness, female education, and gender equality USDA Food for Progress in Uganda Results

12 Life Savings Partnership Project Overview Partnership with Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs *Supported by the Gates Foundation Nearly 15 percent of people in Malawi between 15 and 49 are HIV- positive *Life expectancy is 37 years (down from 55) *Continued stigma with the illness, little social discussion, and a traditionally subservient role among women Goal to of expanding access to HIV prevention and behavior change education utilizing village banking groups of female entrepreneurs

13 Life Savings Partnership Project Structure Peer educators received intensive training on HIV and training methodologies, then led a series of HIV-related sessions Piloted in 175 Village Banking Groups over 16 months in central Malawi Conducted a baseline and follow-up studies among treatment and control groups

14 Life Savings Partnership Project Outcome In the past, I was very much afraid to go for HIV testing but now I have managed to talk to my husband and both of us went for HIV testing. We were counseled and received guidance. We are now staying happily because both of us know our sero-status - Client testimonial 400 peer educators trained 5,600 clients educated Participation in LSP associated with greater: *Knowledge *Comfort in interacting with HIV-infected persons *Self-efficacy 81 “buddy group clusters” formed to continue program activities beyond project end

15 FINCA’s Client Assessment Tool

16 FCAT Results Microfinance leads to job creation for women *1 new job is created for another individual by each FINCA client *17% of clients created a new business after taking a loan from FINCA Microfinance enables asset growth *Helps protect women against external shocks and improves family access to basic necessities Village bank structure empowers women *Peers elect women to leadership positions *Clients experience success in their businesses

17 New Initiatives

18 Ongoing research into the link between food security and microfinance *Study aims to determine what effect financial services have upon food security of rural and urban clients Girls’ savings project in Uganda *Reducing vulnerability for adolescent girls. Scaling up savings *Supported by the Gates Foundation *Mobilize $400 million in savings accounts in 10 years


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