Microsavings through Village Savings and Loan Associations - CARE

Microsavings through Village Savings and Loan Associations

A Cambodian woman wearing a bright orange patterned robe smiles while opening a red basket full of cash VSLA contributions.

In 2018, CARE launched a 12-year strategy to scale up its Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), with the goal of supporting 50 million women and girls – and 65 million people overall – to form savings groups by 2030.

Savings groups are self-managed groups of 15 to 25 people who meet regularly to save their money in a safe space, access small loans, and obtain emergency insurance. Between 2008 and 2018, CARE focused on scaling VSLAs in Africa and increasing financial inclusion, leading to a direct increase in membership from 1 million to 7 million people and influencing peer NGOs, donors, and governments, many of whom have adopted the model.

Looking ahead to 2030, CARE believes that scaling VSLAs and supporting VSLA members to pursue their goals can have a substantial impact on the achievement of the 2030 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve that scale, CARE will continue not only to embed VSLAs in its own work, but also to work in new ways and with new partners.

Since 1991, CARE has helped 8.4 million people join savings groups

CARE has influenced governments & nonprofits to reach 3.7 million with savings groups

Celebrating 30 years of VSLA

How many lives can a lockbox transform?

Highlighted Microsavings Programs

Pennies to Power

The Pennies to Power program will enable women in savings groups to mobilize an estimated $15 billion each year, create new enterprises and dramatically change women’s ability to work together.

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Digital Sub-Wallets for Increased Financial Empowerment of Women

The Digital Sub-Wallets program aimed for women to have equitable influence over household financial decisions and to use mobile financial technology to improve their opportunities and lives.

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VSLA in Emergencies

This program will ensure that CARE’s cash and voucher assistance and “cash-plus” programming are informed by those who are experiencing crisis in order to meet their immediate needs and transform their lives as the situation stabilizes.

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Women for Change

The Women for Change project empowers female cocoa farmers and women living in cocoa-farming households to increase their participation in community development and in making decisions on business and livelihood management.

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The Indashyikirwa project worked with couples to reduce intimate partner violence and improve the wellbeing of survivors in selected communities in seven districts of Rwanda. It also aimed to strengthen the evidence base for community prevention and response for GBV.

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POWER Africa

Promoting Opportunities for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Rural Africa (POWER Africa) aimed to increase financial inclusion for 480,000 individuals and their families through savings groups, financial education, and linking mature groups to formal financial institutions.

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LINK Up connected 10,000 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) with formal financial institutions in order to build financial inclusion in Kenya and Tanzania.

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Journeys of Transformation

Journeys of Transformation works with men and boys to support gender equality and women’s social, political, and economic empowerment.

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Unlocking Access, Unleashing Potential

Launched in 2018, the VSLA Scaling strategy is a bold initiative to scale CARE’s VSLAs to reach 50 Million women and girls by 2030.

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VSLAs Adapt to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading, and the situation is changing quickly in many countries around the world. This brief covers what VSLA groups are doing differently to meet the COVID-19 crisis.

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