Blog Posts By: Bobbi Gray


This post originally appeared in the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion Blog.

I’m a Freakonomics junkie. Stephen Dubner, the host, presents one of the more entertaining ways to consume the latest research.

In 2015, Freakonomics produced a podcast with the title “This Idea Must Die,” based on a book of the same name, where he interviewed scientists and researchers to explore ideas they believed were ready for retirement because they were getting in the way of progress.

If Stephen were to call and ask me this question about financial inclusion, here’s what I’d say:


Who’s your farmer? This sounds like a simple question for any agricultural intervention, but it is fraught with complexity, especially for those of us who are trying to support women through agricultural programs. Why is that and why does it matter?


Daffodils symbolize rebirth and new beginnings. For those of us that garden, they signify the entry into Spring, although snow may still cover the ground. When the green leaves start to peek through the frozen soil, you wait in anticipation for the yellow and white flowers to finally bloom, knowing that one morning, you’ll wake up with a beautiful flower to greet you. The flowers are completely resilient to the snow and freezing temperatures despite their delicate petals.

This last spring, as I waited for the daffodils to bloom in my yard, I thought about the women Grameen Foundation works with in Burkina Faso. We had recently completed an endline survey for women savings group members who participated in a three-year project that provided agricultural and income-generation loans, nutrition education, agricultural extension support, and gender dialogues that included their husbands and other community members. This integrated approach is designed to improve agricultural production and household communication and increase the women’s resilience to shocks.


A basic requirement for gender parity anywhere is fair access to work and financial resources. In the Global South, many women are addressing this need collectively; the creation of informal savings groups are giving women in some of the poorest places the power to plan their own future.

WASHINGTON, DC – On March 8, the world will celebrate International Women’s Day, an annual opportunity to recommit to gender equality. This year’s observance comes at an important time for women’s rights, as global movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are refocusing attention on the discriminatory practices that women confront in their social and professional lives.