Banking on Women (and Men) for Development

Savings and Credits Cooperatives (SACCOs) are used in Uganda, mostly by the rural poor, to finance business and living expenses. After a gender study showed that women represented less than 30% on governance, management and membership level of GIZ FSD partner SACCOs, the GIZ programme piloted a project to improve gender equality.

Women with a savings box.The program cooperated with partners on all levels: the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda (AMFIU), Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA), a local NGO and a local university. To increase awareness of SACCO board and staff members, the programme trained them in gender concepts and issues. To institutionalise gender permanently in their organisations, FSD supported a gender audit and the development of a gender policy. To attract a more balanced membership, they advised SACCOs on how to best target men and women in their communication and mobilization campaigns. Via a striking radio campaign, men in the surrounding communities were shown the benefits of women joining SACCOs. To empower previously financially illiterate women to join SACCOs, the programme enabled community-based facilitators to mobilize women and their husbands in groups and train them in basic loans and saving techniques. Finally, with the help of researchers and students of the local university, the program supported the SACCOs to develop women-friendly financial products.
This project was one of the top ten award winning teams of the 2012 GIZ Gender Competition.

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