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  1. MIND THE GAP Exploring the Gender Dynamics of CARE Rwanda’s Village Savings and Loans (VSL) Programming MURANGIRA FranklinResults Initiative Project Manager andNIYIBIZI GlycerieVSL Technical Support Unit Manager

  2. PRESENTATION OUTLINE • Introduction • Goal and objectives • Methodology • Key findings • Recommendations

  3. introduction

  4. Background: SAFI and RI PROJECTS SAFI Project Objectives • To enhance the livelihood security and financial literacy of at least 108,200 Village Savings and Loans Group (VSL GROUP) members, 70% of whom are women RI Project Objectives (Family Planning Results Initiative) • To improve sexual, reproductive and maternal health (SRMH) by strengthening health systems as well as addressing the inequitable gender roles and social norms that influence SRMH, especially family planning

  5. The SAFI-RI Integration Model • SAFI mid-term review – suggested the need to address gender, power relations, communication at household • RI mid-term review - suggested that RI is contributing to more communication, more shared decision-making, more men and women sharing household duties and acceptance of FP So, the CO decided to….. • Select high impact activities from RI to integrate into VSLA groups, to address these gaps (Explore and challenge gender norms using SAA, family planning posts, engaging religious leaders as partners and allies for gender equity and SRMH) • Goal – To develop/document a model for VSL as a platform for integrated programming (VSL, SRMH and Gender Equity)

  6. GOAL and Objectives OF THE GGA

  7. THE GOAL OF THE GGA • To examine the process and outcomes of our VSL programming through a gender lens in order to strengthen the VSL methodology as a programming platform for CARE-Rwanda’s women’s empowerment program • To identify opportunities to strengthen the integrated SAFI-RI programmatic initiative

  8. THE SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF THE GGA CARE INTERNATIONAL’S CASE FOR CHANGE • To learn how gender norms shape women’s participation in and benefits from VSL groups • To understand the different experiences of men and women participating in VSL groups • To formulate recommendations for strengthening the VSL methodology to address issues relating to gender dynamics

  9. methodology


  11. FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSIONS • CARE staff served as data collectors • Single sex teams with single sex groups • 2 hours on average

  12. Key findings

  13. THE 6 THEMES OF INQUIRY • Access: How VSL group members obtain the money they need for saving? • Priorities: How VSL group members want to use the loans and savings they get from the group? • Decision-making: How VSL group members make decisions about the use of their loans and savings? • Control of Assets from Loans: To what extent VSL group members have control over the assets they purchase using loans from the group? • Benefits, Challenges and Barriers: What have been the benefits and challenges of participating in the VLS group? • Ideas for Improvement: How could the working of the VSL group be further improved?

  14. KEY FINDINGS • Normative gender roles and inequitable power relations between men and women significantly constrain women’s ability to fully participate in VSL and benefit enough from the VSL methodology • Women tend to invest either in improved household well-being (through consumption-related expenditures) or in relatively small-scale business activities, while men tend to make larger scale business investments that generate higher levels of income, which suggests that women may also benefit proportionately less in economic terms than men from their participation in the VSL group

  15. KEY FINDINGS CONTINUED • Women’s participation in the VSL group is limited by social norms mostly their widespread dependency on their husbands for money and household basic needs satisfaction • Men are controlling the functioning of the VSL groups, even if they are not members of those groups • Women do not feel comfortable or confident in taking decisions about a loan (whether to take one, how much to borrow, what to use the money for) without their husband’s approval • Men have rigid expectations of the gender role of women

  16. recommendations

  17. RECOMMENDATIONS • Review and strengthen the various training process of the VSL methodology (e.g. the SPM and financial education modules) to ensure that they are gender sensitive • Train peer educators within VSL groups to facilitate reflection/discussion about gender and power relations and on how restrictive gender roles and inequitable power relations adversely affect health and well-being • Build skills for communication, negotiation and decision-making with VSL members and their spouses • Integrate this critical reflection about gender roles + skills building activities to build communication/negotiation skills early in the VSL cycle

  18. RECOMMENDATIONS CONTINUED • Constructive engagement with men to share information/address concerns about VSL and to explore/challenge restrictive gender norms • To promote dialogue and debate on gender issues at the wider level of the community using different forms of media and SAA activities in churches, school and during community work (Umuganda)

  19. ACCESS AFRICA LEARNING EVENT • Presentation, reports and video shared at AA meeting last week and the following next steps were agreed on……..

  20. NEXTSTEPS FROM AA LEARNING EVENT • To conduct similar GGAs in a sample of countries in Africa where VSL programming is being implemented so that the consolidated findings feed into the development of the proposed gender and empowerment training module • For AA to take the lead next FY in reviewing the VSL manuals to be more gender sensitive • For AA to ensure that VSL programs incorporate a gender transformative approach


  22. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SEE…… • SAFI-RI integration video documentation: • Gender wiki: •