Women Empowered: Championing Innovative Approaches to Savings Group Programming

Global Communities’ Women Empowered (WE) initiative is a global savings group program designed to promote financial inclusion and the social, economic, and political empowerment of women. In WE groups, 15-25 members come together to save money, access credit, learn together, and invest in income-generating activities. Developed in 2008 and refined over the past 15 years, WE builds on the proven Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) methodology with the spirit of continuous innovation and adaptation. In addition to the core curriculum, WE incorporates novel approaches to transform harmful gender norms, enhance economic participation, advance inclusion in oral communities, and champion digital transformation. Global Communities introduces these innovations based on program goals and specific needs of participants. To date, the WE program has supported more than 10,000 savings groups, reaching over 234,000 people, mostly women (89%), in 15 countries across the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa. Cumulatively, our WE groups have saved over $7,400,000 and loaned over $6,600,000.