Nearly one billion women worldwide do not have bank accounts. This means they do not have access to funds for predictable life events, like sending a child to school, much less emergencies. WomenSave is a new program on a mission to expand financial services to women in developing economies with commitment savings plans, a financial product through which clients regularly set aside small amounts of money in a safe place until the target amount/date is met. These savings plans can transform lives of women living in poverty, giving them agency to make their financial goals a reality.
What We Do
WomenSave offers clients financial literacy training, financial advisory services, commitment savings plans, regular reminders to make contributions to them and access to mobile money to keep their money safe until financial goals are met. Savings plan categories include agriculture, business, consumer goods, education, health, housing, life events and livestock. Clients simultaneously save toward an emergency fund, to access in times of need. Why not loans? WomenSave believes that a savings plan is a more effective, less risky financial tool, particularly for unprofitable purposes.
WomenSave targets poor (< $2 a day) women in underserved areas of developing economies. Market research in Uganda, where nearly 5 million women lack access to bank accounts, confirmed an unmet demand for commitment savings plans. Currently, we are conducting a pilot project in the western districts of Kanungu and Rukungiri, where WomenSave has 500 clients.
WomenSave operates as a program within Global Partners for Development, an international non-profit dedicated to community-led development in East Africa. In Uganda, WomenSave has a Country Coordinator and a team of Savings Officers, local women with accounting, business and finance skills, who work directly with clients.
The goal of WomenSave is to expand financial services to women, empower them to meet their financial goals, and bring them into the formal financial system. Metrics of success include: # Women Trained in Financial Literacy; # Savings Plans Created; # Personal Financial Goals Met; Increase in Women in Formal Financial System; and Improved Quality of Life for Women.
WomenSave raised over $20,000 to fund the pilot project. For the next phase, we are seeking $125,000 to reach 2,000 clients. These funds will cover the cost of delivering services, including salaries, training, toolkits for clients, transport to reach them and monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL).
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