Grameen Foundation to launch WomenLink II in India and the Philippines

Grameen Foundation is proud to announce WomenLink II, a renewed partnership with Wells Fargo to catalyze economic empowerment through the breakthrough use of digital financial services among poor and low-income women. During its initial year of operation, WomenLink II will scale up training and use of digital financial services by tens of thousands of women in India and the Philippines. It builds on Grameen Foundation’s work for WomenLink Phase I, supported by Wells Fargo in India and Colombia.

Roughly 1.1 billion women globally lack access to formal financial services that can open gateways to greater savings and safety nets, higher incomes and better lives. Digital technology has enormous potential to connect women to the financial services they need, as it can overcome barriers of distance, cost and illiteracy.

Grameen Foundation India will implement WomenLink II in rural, impoverished communities of Odisha, on India’s poorest states. The effort will include pilot testing of an Augmented Reality (AR) application as an enhancement to Grameen’s innovative G-Leap platform, an e-learning tool used by field agents to train clients in digital financial literacy. The program builds on the learnings from WomenLink I, which tested the effectiveness of different approaches to impart financial literacy.

In the Philippines, Grameen Foundation will investigate barriers—both new and ongoing—to the uptake of digital financial services among women. An SMS messaging program will also be developed to increase understanding and usage of digital financial services among women ages 15 and above. The project will build on Grameen Foundation’s existing Community Agent Network and Community Outreach Programs in the Philippines, which engage local variety-shop operators to provide digital financial services to poor and remote communities.

In addition to funding the work of WomenLink II, Wells Fargo employees have committed to serve as volunteers for the project as part of Grameen Foundation’s Bankers without Borders program. The volunteers will support the testing of the AR application and contribute to research and data analysis on the effectiveness of behavior change communication in driving financial inclusion.

By tackling outstanding challenges in enabling poor unbanked women to access financial services through digital channels, WomenLink II will increase momentum toward achieving Grameen Foundation’s overarching goal of reaching 25 million people by 2025 with innovations that measurably improve their lives.

Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit that empowers the poor, especially women, to end poverty and hunger. It creates breakthrough solutions—spanning financial, agricultural and health services—that leverage digital technology and local partner networks to bring people the tools and opportunities they need to help themselves.

Grameen Foundation India, a wholly owned subsidiary of Grameen Foundation, is a social business that catalyses double bottom line approaches to serve low-income and poor communities. It creates breakthrough, technology-enabled solutions that extend financial services and health information to underserved communities, especially women, living at the “last mile” in India.

Bankers without Borders is Grameen Foundation’s volunteer “skill-anthropy” program, attracting talent and skills from the private sector and academia to help increase the scale, sustainability, and impact of poverty-focused social enterprises globally. More than 22,000 volunteers have signed on with BwB from more than 170 countries with an array of backgrounds, from banking and finance, to IT, marketing, and human resources.

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