Empowerment

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Upon achieving a shift in mindset, empowered by a sense of agency, meaning and connection, the women realize that they have improved their financial situation to be able to feed and clothe their children, pay their school fees and initiate or expand a livelihood. They are learning from each other, working with each other in social enterprises, and beginning down the path to benefit from financial inclusion. As they economically empower themselves through the spark of interest free financial assistance, they demonstrate repeatedly to have the strength and moxie to tackle the barriers in front of them. For example, the women acknowledge that savings is essential to managing emergencies and daily consumption, as well as inconsistencies of cash flow given the disrupting factors of seasonal shifts, climate change, and fluctuations in health and well-being.

At this point, as the women are learning financial management, business planning and basic technology skills, they are engaging with informal financial services such as Village Savings and Loans (VSLA). As women move from informal to formal financial services for larger capital, greater savings and possibly insurance, their small capital loans recirculate to expand the community outreach of the program and the women develop as mentors supporting women who are new to the program.