Bringing economic opportunities to women
Women deserve every opportunity to be economically self-sufficient. They invest in the broader community, taking care of other vulnerable groups like the elderly, the sick, and orphans. Unfortunately, in Haiti, Kenya, Peru, South Sudan, and Zambia, women are among the poorest and least educated members of their communities. Additionally, the underlying issues of gender inequality and a multitude of discriminatory practices (religious, ethnic, etc.) make it difficult to escape the cycle of poverty.
In 2015, many of CMMB’s programs focused on empowering women through Mothers’ Clubs, microloans, and economic development projects, including animal husbandry programs.
“By increasing the share of household income controlled by women, either through their own earnings or cash transfers, spending is changed in ways that benefit children.” – The World Bank
Through financial empowerment programs, we are helping women turn dreams into reality.
To sustainably support as many women as possible, our economic empowerment programs include:
- village savings and lending associations (VSLAs)
- support and expansion of locally relevant income generating activities
VSLAs are among the oldest forms of savings groups. Worldwide, more than 11 million people participate in savings groups, with 10 million in Africa. Savings groups are changing the face of microfinance, bringing sustainable financial services to the rural poor for the first time . The groups focus on teaching participants to save by using their own resources. Money is loaned to group members based on their collective savings. The VSLA model is built on trust. Members create rules, and must believe that the membership body will follow them together as they participate in a cycle of saving and lending.
To promote, improve, and expand locally relevant income generating activities, each community is examined individually. Based on community needs and location, programs may include vegetable gardening, animal husbandry, and small trade.
Watch this video to learn about how economic empowerment transforms the lives of the most vulnerable women.
Women’s Savings Groups in Haiti
Upon successful graduation from a CMMB Mothers’ Club in Haiti, participants have the opportunity to receive basic math training and become part of a microloan program (a MuSo) that will help them launch a business. Women trained in health and finance share their knowledge with other Mothers’ Club participants and build group knowledge around entrepreneurship and credit.
In 2015, 249 women joined and successfully graduated from CMMB’s Mothers’ Clubs in Haiti. Of these, 73 of the most vulnerable and motivated women now participate in MuSos. The majority of these budding entrepreneurs have successfully started small businesses and trade operations, and 77% of those have repaid their loans on time.
 Allen, Hugh and Staehle, ASL Associates, Village Saving and Loan Associations, Field Officer Training Guide 12/11/15 page 5.