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This week only: Every $1 will be matched with $2 to empower women worldwide.
In 2006, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced the Banking Correspondent (BC) model as an innovative and cost-effective means to advance India's national financial inclusion agenda. This model provides financial services at locations beyond bank branches and ATMs, allowing banks to engage local third-party, non-bank agents to extend doorstep delivery of basic financial products and services. The BC model has helped financial inclusion and was vital to the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) launched in 2014, which aimed to ensure all unbanked persons had a basic savings account. Under this financial inclusion program, over 420 million bank accounts were opened, of which 53% belonged to women. However, a 2021 report estimated that 55% of women's PMJDY accounts go unused. To address the gap, the National Rural Livelihoods Mission adopted the Bank Sakhi model in 2015-16 to integrate female BCs into the network and progressively connect more women customers to formal financial services. Even in 2021, most reports suggest that less than 14% of agents working with Business Correspondent Network Managers (BCNM) in India are women.
The RBI continues to have faith in the BC model for the last-mile delivery of a basic bouquet of financial services while acknowledging its caveats. In alignment with India’s National Strategy for Financial Inclusion 2019-24 goals, Grameen Foundation USA and Grameen Foundation India, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the BCNM Experiments and Demonstrating Scale (BEADS) project to address the sustainability of rural BCs.
Satellite for Farming, or Sat4Farming, is a consortium of the Rainforest Alliance (lead institution), Touton, Grameen Foundation, University of Ghana, WaterWatch Projects (now AuxFin), and Satelligence and is funded by the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) program of the Netherlands Space Office (NSO). Sat4Farming seeks to triple yields of cocoa farms from 400 kg/ha to 1,500 kg/ha within a decade through a strong focus on supporting farmers to renovate and rehabilitate their farms. The major vehicle through which the overarching goal will be achieved is the deployment of a digital agriculture advisory tool, known as FarmGrow. This endline report outlines the findings from a mixed-methods evaluation conducted between 2018 and 2020 to assess changes in farmer practices and outcomes, to document intra-household dynamics such as women’s involvement in the project, as well as document the lessons learned and key recommendations for consideration, not only for the Sat4Farming team, but also for implementers of digital agriculture strategies.
The constitution and statutory laws of Timor-Leste guarantee equal rights and duties for women and men. However, women continue to experience bias and discrimination in practice, driven by historically patriarchal social norms and customary laws. The highly patriarchal system in Timor-Leste predefines gender roles and power dynamics within households and communities and in the market economy. Men are generally viewed as the heads of households, main providers, and decision-makers, while women are in charge of child-rearing and household chores, which limits their capacity to engage in their own economic activities. Although the government of Timor-Leste considers female entrepreneurs, including women who own micro and small enterprises, as engines of growth, women face greater constraints in developing and scaling their businesses than men, including intertwined gendered business and social challenges. Additionally, women entrepreneurs are still expected to perform their usual tasks at home, and they struggle with profitability as they usually work in low-paying sectors such as handicraft production, kiosk operation, agriculture, and tourism. Timorese women also face a high level of gender-based violence (GBV), rooted in unequal gender norms, poverty, and the country’s history of violence connected to its emergence from Indonesian rule. Physical, sexual, emotional, and economic violence are often frequent and severe. Building on strategies and best practices of its local partners, and the existing policies and programs of the government and other stakeholders, the Business and Social Support for Female Entrepreneurs in Timor-Leste (BEST) program seeks to create linkages to address the barriers faced by female microentrepreneurs in starting, maintaining, and expanding businesses.
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, overseas Filipinos who lost their job and were repatriated as a result of the pandemic were eager to find opportunities that would provide an alternative and sustainable livelihood for their families once they returned home. In response to this, Grameen Foundation implemented the Celo Social Dividend Campaign which focused on the plight of 800 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and their families.
With funding from Celo Foundation, Grameen partnered with Ekolife Marketing Cooperative (Ekolife) and local non-government organization (NGO) Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative (Atikha) to identify, onboard, and train beneficiaries who would each receive 200 Celo Dollars (cUSD - a digital cryptocurrency) as capital support to start their own business and contribute to an entrepreneurial ecosystem running on cUSD in their communities.
The pilot project created a digital currency ecosystem where the beneficiaries and cooperatives actively took part as producers, merchants, and consumers using cUSD.
WomenLink II, a program supported by Wells Fargo, was a three-year initiative implemented in India and the Philippines whose goal was to increase digital financial inclusion through female agent networks. Lessons gained from recruiting and supporting women to run mobile money businesses and testing various methods for improving digital and financial literacy and uptake of digital financial services include the importance of coupling digital technologies with human interaction for agents and customers alike and the need for ongoing support to agents, particularly effective complaints and customers support mechanisms.
Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is a major global priority. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the Building the Resilience of Vulnerable Communities in Burkina Faso (BRB) project, an agricultural development program, improved women’s empowerment, as measured by the project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (pro-WEAI).
In partnership with graduate student researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU), and leveraging Grameen Foundation’s own literature review, this evidence review presents four different reports outlining the current research and evidence regarding the role of male engagement in women’s economic empowerment (WEE). The first report (Evidence Review Summary) seeks to summarize key findings found in exisiting literature as well as readings that are influencing the work of Grameen Foundation, and that of our technical and in-country partners. The final three reports were developed by BYU graduate student researchers. Aleson and Ricks present positive outcomes that result from increasing a woman’s intra-household bargaining power and the male role in this transformation. Barham and Schenk draw on evidence from several middle- and low-income countries to demonstrate the most effective methods to integrate men at the household, community, and policy levels. Finally, Sheranian and Taylor provide a unique country-specific approach to women’s empowerment by recommending various interventions to improve male engagement.