Are organizations helping women from challenging backgrounds to grow financially? We gathered information pertaining to programs all over the world aimed at improving financial access for women. Microfinance is one such banking tool used to issue loans for low-income individuals. It was first started in 1983 by the Yunus Foundation in Bangladesh that organized Grameen Banks to provide Microfinance. This financial model was greatly successful. The funds from microfinance are generally aimed at financing start-up opportunities, education, insurance and investments. Here are some programs that provide access to finance for women.
World wide projects
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) of the World Bank. Launched in October 2017 at the G20 Summit, the program has already raised $340 million. It aims to fill the existing $300 billion annual credit gap for women.
Similarly, International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank group has gender programs, some specifically to promote entrepreneurship for women and improving their access to credit. IFC’s Banking on Women Program raised $1.35 billion in 34 countries in 2010. In 2014, IFC joined with Goldman Sachs “10,000 Women” program to launch Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility. This program raised $600 million and expects to fund 100,000 women-owned SMEs through its financial partners.
Women’s World Banking (WWB) is another such organization that works towards financial development for women. It works with 49 financial institutions in 32 countries for the financial inclusion of 1.1 billion women. WWB conducts extensive research, develops Gender Performance Indicator and designed loans, savings accounts and micro-insurance as per its Annual Report 2016
Gender, Equality, Diversity Branch of International Labor Office (ILO GED) has various international projects for gender equality, including for microfinance. The Social Finance Programme (SFP) in cooperation with the Gates Foundation is ILO’s major microfinance project. The WEDGE team, part of ILO’s Small Enterprise (SEED) programme, also works to enhance economic opportunities for women by developing tools and strategies specifically for entrepreneurship.
Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) started a Dabi loan project for women in villages of Bangladesh. Today it has 3.4 billion borrowers connected by 300 000 village organizations and also has independent operations in countries such as Myanmar, Pakistan, Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Similarly, microfinancing greatly helped growth in Tunisia. This IFC project in collaboration with Tunisian microfinance institution Enda Inter-Arabe in 2012 was greatly successful.
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