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Tuesday, 18 June 2013, 4:00 p.m., Room F/G
Hosted by CARE Deutschland-Luxemburg e.V.
Aid organizations are committed to enabling poor communities to lift themselves out of poverty. But with literally no money to invest, it is nearly impossible for the poorest of the poor to start a business or seek other ways of generating income. More than 20 years ago, humanitarian organization CARE pioneered an approach in Niger in western Africa that meets the need for microfinance at the bottommost rung of the world's economic ladder. Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) empower women to pool their savings - with no outside capital - and provide loans to each other to start small businesses or pay for important life expenses such as school fees or medical care. For the past two decades, CARE has trained more than three million people in poor communities to manage such VSLAs. Because the approach is community-run and does not require any external financial input, it is suitable for rural and remote communities where the transaction costs for formal banks and microfinance institutions are too high to make financial services for poor people commercially viable. Women are at the heart of this approach because experience has shown that they invest smartly, reliably and in ways that benefit the whole family.
What are the main obstacles to women's access to financial services? How do village-based savings groups differ from microloans provided by a bank? What effects do they have on a community's resilience and overall development? What other types of financial inclusions (e.g. mobile banking) have proven successful in developing countries? And finally, which role does the private sector play in enabling financial inclusion of the world's poorest? These and other questions will be discussed in the CARE workshop by a group of experts representing the private and non-governmental sectors.
Senator and Former TV Journalist, Kenyan Senate, Nairobi
Founder, VSL Associates, Solingen, Germany
Senior Microfinance Advisor, CARE International UK
Vankalas, Sachin S.
Operations Officer, LuxFLAG, Luxembourg
Complete workshop on soundcloud: