Empowering women to save

World Vision savings groups are helping women in developing countries to achieve financial independence.

The global gender financial gap 

Globally, there is a disproportionate number of women who lack access to formal financial services; especially in comparison to men and in developing nations.

There are many factors that contribute to this disparity. Traditional gender roles and a lack of access to education and technology mean that many women in developing nations are unable to plan financially for the future.

It is vital that women in developing countries have access to financial facilities – especially because women are more likely to make economic decisions that benefit children’s wellbeing. Financial resources allow women to cope with unexpected expenses and fully participate in the budgeting for crucial necessities like food, health and education.

Financial services can also equip women to better deal with gender-based violence and make the investments critical to escaping poverty – like establishing a small business. Repeat borrowing also increases women’s risk-taking abilities, encouraging them to go on and begin their own micro-enterprises.

Most importantly, women feel a sense of empowerment when they have greater participation in financial decisions.

Closing the gap with savings groups 

We’re working towards eliminating the financial inclusion gap.

As part of our livelihoods and resilience programming, we provide women in the community with training that focuses on numeracy and basic finance skills. At the same time, we facilitate savings groups which enable members access to savings and credit in a small-scale and sustainable way, while also further enhancing members’ numeracy skills. These groups function beyond our direct involvement.

The structure of these groups is simple. It all begins with a savings kit, provided by World Vision. This kit includes a money box and padlock, notebooks and calculators. Then, members assign each other roles, such as money counter, record keeper and group leader.

Loans made through savings groups are often used to invest in income-generating activities and the group also has a small social fund to cover small emergency expenses.

These groups don’t just allow households quick access to funding when they need it. They also strengthen relationships in the community and help give women an equal voice in the financial matters that affect them.


Our livelihoods work in the Pacific and Timor-Leste

Livelihoods in the Pacific and Timor-Leste

World Vision has been working in the Pacific region for over 30 years, supporting our closest neighbours to improve child, family and community wellbeing. Livelihoods is a core part of our programming in the Pacific and Timor-Leste, which has a combined value of $33 million in the 2017 financial year. Across the region, World Vision has 70 projects benefiting over 260,000 people. Our livelihoods programming does so much more than increase household incomes. It empowers individual men, women, families and communities, so they can sustainably meet their needs, provide for their children’s wellbeing and invest in the future.
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How savings groups are helping Jessie’s community 

Jessie is the leader of a savings group in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea – an island where most families rely on cocoa farming for their incomes.

Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this savings group has provided Jessie and many other women like her with numeracy and financial literacy training.

As a result, Jessie and her group members have found a way to make an income on top of their regular savings. By learning to graft and clone cocoa seedlings, they have created an ongoing source of income, meaning greater profits for each participant.

Jessie believes that women in the community have learned fundamental skills through the project. “Before we had the training, we didn’t know how to save the money,” she says. “The group members, they learn something: how to look after their money.”

With their financial skills, many women have also started their own small businesses, selling bananas and greens at the market and at canteens.

So far, the women have saved over A$1,700. They’re using their increased incomes to build new houses for their families and pay school fees, but they have many plans for the future.

“We are hoping … that when we sell these [cocoa] clones that we can get money,” says Jessie, “and [with] the money that we get, we can improve our community.”

The effects of saving 

World Vision savings groups are actively minimising the number of women who are vulnerable due to poverty and a lack of finance all over the world.

By offering women the opportunity to access financial resources, savings groups are providing many with the ability to be prepared for the future. From equipping them to manage unanticipated expenses, to affording them the ability to budget better for necessities, these groups enable women to fully participate in financial matters.

Savings groups aren’t just providing numeracy and financial skills. They’re building confidence and independence, strengthening families and bridging the gender divide in financial inclusion. Most importantly, we’re empowering women with a greater sense of equality.


The impact of World Vision savings groups

1.3 million




savings groups



of group members

are women

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