The poorest households in the rural areas of Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Rwanda are significantly excluded from financial services. Gender inequalities in these areas mean that women are the most excluded and most vulnerable and cannot access even the most basic financial services, such as a savings account or a small loan. Without access to education, training, or the ability to save money, it is impossible for women to lift themselves out of poverty.
In Côte d’Ivoire, POWER Africa focused on female-headed households in rural and peri-urban areas and worked across the financial inclusion ladder to link women to formal financial services. In Ethiopia, the project targeted chronically food insecure women, helping them form groups and equipping them with financial education and business development training. In Burundi, the project supported adolescent girls with group formation, financial education, and life skills training. And in Rwanda, POWER Africa worked with mature VSLAs to link them to financial institutions.
By the end of the project, 12,542 groups with a combined membership of more than 353,000 were linked to formal financial services. In addition, more than 162,000 individuals were linked to formal financial services, 71% of them women.