Women Banking Network
Thank you to all our donors, we have met our fundraising goal!
Sri Lakshmi lives in a village in Sri Lanka called Kanthansamy Nagar with her husband and two children. Sri Lakshmi and her family have been displaced multiple times as a result of the Sri Lankan Civil War, and each time, had to start again with very little. Her husband is an unskilled labourer and providing enough food for the family has been a challenge. She has been expected to raise her children and manage the household on a very small and irregular income. Her duties have meant that she has had limited capacity to contribute economically and, as a result, feels that she has not had the right to participate in critical financial decisions that relate to the household.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
We want to work with 110 women just like Sri Lakshmi to build a banking network and connect them to mainstream financial services. We will work with women to better manage their livelihoods, build financial literacy and strengthen savings practices. This will allow women to save and access loans to meet their needs and those of their families. Individually, it provides an avenue for women to engage with financial activity and strengthens their financial literacy skills. Collectively, it provides a powerful platform for women to come together to address the household, community or political challenges that they face.
WHY WE ARE DOING IT
Establishing a banking network in Kanthansamy Nagar means that Sri Lakshmi and her neighbours will be able to keep their savings in a secure place. They will have access to low-interest and emergency loans that will help them meet their basic needs, support their livelihoods, improve their access to education and health, and see them through any emergencies. This is critical in for low income households, where interests rates can be as high as 35%. Setting up a banking network for these women means providing them with skills in financial literacy and leadership and gives them a voice in the financial decisions made in her household and community.
HOW WE ARE DOING IT
Over the course of five years, we will work with small groups of women in Kanthansamy Nagar and train them in financial literacy. Every week, the women will meet together, pool their savings and decide as a group on which member or members will receive a loan. There will be more than ten of these groups of women meeting weekly, and any money left over after the weekly meetings will be put into a cluster group that will be available for larger loans. All of the savings are recorded, meaning that should a women wish to draw upon her individual savings, she can do so. Every meeting a different member will act as the moderator, putting into practice their leadership training.
Once a month, a representative from each group will meet in this cluster group. These representatives will have additional training to help them oversee the smaller groups and maintain their sustainability and integrity. The cluster group engages with Palmera’s livelihood programming that takes place in the same village, meaning that the banking network is not only financially driven, but is also directed towards issues that directly impact upon the members and their community.
By working with the women to build their financial literacy and leadership skills and develop an advocacy platform that recognises and addresses the issues that they face, the impact of this program can continue well after we exit.
HOW CAN YOU HELP
In order to start and maintain a women’s banking network in Kanthansamy Nagar, we need to raise $41, 913. This works out a $279 per women; only $56 a year over the 5-year programme.
$56 a year to give Sri Lakshmi the gift of financial literacy and a voice in her household? We think that’s money well spent.