Women’s Savings Groups Improve Quality of Life
In Mali and Burkina Faso, two of the world’s least-developed nations, rural women are typically illiterate and rarely own property. Most women lack an interest-earning place to save their money and keep it beyond the reach of other family members. With few formal employment opportunities, many women and girls, some as young as 12, turn to prostitution for survival income.
In 2007, Strømme Foundation West Africa (SFWA) partnered with the Legatum Foundation to create and fund the three-year West Africa Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, with the goal of expanding self-help women’s savings groups (SHWSGs) to communities in Mali and neighbouring Burkina Faso. This Initiative’s approach to addressing poverty is to help women become financially self-sufficient by forming groups and pooling their savings, which are used to lend money to individual members.