Health shocks are the most prominent idiosyncratic shocks and stresses that low-income households face. Demand for health financing support is often higher than any other financial risk management solution, and demand far exceeds the supply. An improved and expanded choice of health financing options is needed to ensure low-income households have financial instruments to anticipate, respond to, and recover from health events without resulting in increased vulnerability and poverty traps. This will require patient and long-term investments from donors, investors, governments, health service actors and the financial services sector and will require thinking about health financing through an ecosystem lens, where demand generation for and supply of health services and health financing should be designed to intersect.
The Building the Resilience of Vulnerable Communities in Burkina Faso (BRB) project leveraged women’s savings groups as a platform to provide complementary services in nutrition and agricultural education, access to agricultural extension support, linkages to formal agricultural and micro-business financing, and gender dialogues with the aim of improving household resilience. A mixed-methods, longitudinal quasi-experimental research design implemented between 2016 and 2018 found that BRB participants experienced improved food security, dietary diversity, self-perceived resilience and sustained savings accumulation despite an economic downturn experienced in 2017 due to a drought and subsequent poor harvests. Women reported increases in the implementation of new income-generating activities, earned income, the adoption of climate-smart agricultural techniques and improvements in harvest production as a result of the project interventions. There were mixed outcomes in social norms related to decision-making power, fear of spouse, and confidence in speaking out in mixed-gender forums. Despite the inherent difficulty in measuring changes in resilience, the research supporting the BRB project suggests a sense of “bouncing back” among the treatment group after the 2017 drought in Burkina Faso compared to the comparison group.
How can we strengthen women’s economic empowerment in Central America? With a $368K matching fund and wrap-around support
April 16, 2019 by Amelia Kuklewicz and Elliott Collins
Entrepreneurship is a vital part of life for women in Central America, where unemployment is 50 percent higher for women than for men. But women entrepreneurs are squeezed from many sides as they struggle to launch and grow their businesses.
October 19, 2018
Grameen Foundation in India is training poor women in digital and financial literacy so they can launch microenterprises that extend financial services to their neighbors. The program is breaking barriers of caste and access, as seen in the story of Sindhu, the first Grameen Mitra.
October 16, 2018
Global hunger is near a ten-year high. Almost 821 million people—one out of every nine persons—are chronically hungry and roughly one-third of women of childbearing age suffer from anemia, a form of malnutrition that heightens risks of maternal and infant mortality and saps energy. In Asia, 515 million are hungry, in Africa, 256.5 million.
Pro-WEAI Baseline Results from the initiative Building the Resilience of Vulnerable Communities in Burkina Faso (BRB)
This report documents a quantitative assessment completed as part of a pilot test of the pro-WEAI for the “Gender, Agriculture, and Assets Project – Phase 2” (GAAP2) project led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) was launched by IFPRI, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and USAID’s Feed the Future program in February 2012 and was the first comprehensive standardized measure to capture women’s empowerment and inclusion in the agricultural sector.
Building Resilience in Burkina Faso (BRB) takes a multi-sectoral approach to improving household resilience and food security and features the innovative use of community-based women’s savings groups as a platform for providing an integrated package of agricultural, nutrition, financial services, and women’s empowerment programming to help thousands of savings group members overcome many of the geographic, cultural, social, and economic constraints that hamper their resilience in the face of shocks and disasters.
In the Philippines, more than three million coconut smallholder farmers supply a multi-billion dollar export industry. Yet, they are among the poorest households in the country. Grameen Foundation developed FarmerLink, using digital technology and field agents to provide farmers with complimentary resources: agricultural training, connections to high-value markets, support for organic certification, training in financial management, and access to financing.
June 13, 2017 by Amelia Kuklewicz
As an industry, we have made significant strides in understanding, measuring and tracking financial inclusion worldwide. One sign is the steady stream of emails, conferences and webinars discussing best practices for creating useful, affordable products and services, educating clients appropriately, and safeguarding their rights. But there is one crucial element missing from most of these discussions: frontline staff.
Yet, microfinance field officers play an outsized role in the lives of poor families.
In Burkina Faso, households have access to few resources for facing numerous health and environmental shocks. Economic games were used to introduce health savings accounts (HSAs) and health loans to participants, mimicking real-life products by a local financial service provider (FSP).