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Economic Empowerment:


Over 2 billion adults and 800 million young people worldwide do not have access to formal financial services and in sub-Saharan Africa less than 30% of women have an account with a financial institution. These unbanked individuals mostly live in developing countries and are unable to set up bank accounts because they have little money, there are no banks nearby, they lack the required identification, they are unable to complete the paperwork, or because they aren’t aware of the benefits.

Women with access to a range of appropriate financial services are more likely to develop sustainable livelihoods, invest more in health and education and interact with and benefit from markets.

Hundreds of thousands of people achieve financial stability and economic empowerment thanks to microfinance initiatives facilitated by Plan International through its partners. Microfinance involves extending small loans, savings and other basic financial services to people that don’t currently have access to capital. It’s a key strategy in helping people living in poverty to become financially independent, which helps them become more resilient and better able to provide for their families in times of economic difficulty. Considering nearly half the world survives on less than $2 a day, microfinance is a vital solution.

By providing access to financial resources, knowledge and the chance to accumulate savings, our microfinance programs allow families greater flexibility in managing their resources to become more resilient and provide for their children.

Plan Internationals works in partnership with local microfinance service providers as well as other organizations on poverty-breaking initiatives. In Peru, for example, Plan International’s work through partnerships has helped 8,000 families access financial services and receive educational support. One such partner is Arariwa, a non-governmental organization with expertise in microfinance projects. Together we have helped bring village banks to rural areas of the Cusco region and complemented these services with educational projects on business management and children's and women's health.

People who do not have access to financial services are much less likely to save money and are therefore less likely to have the resources to keep their children healthy, safe and in school.

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Five Benefits of Microfinance

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Banks simply won’t extend loans to those with little or no assets, and generally don’t engage in the small size of loans typically associated with microfinancing. Microfinancing is based on the philosophy that even small amounts of credit can help end the cycle of poverty. Many women and girls have trouble accessing formal financial institutions as they don't have appropriate identification or certification of land and house ownership.

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2Better loan repayment rates

Microfinance tends to target women borrowers, who are statistically less likely to default on their loans than men. These loans help empower women, and they are often safer investments for those loaning the funds.

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3Extending education and health

Families receiving microfinancing are less likely to pull their children out of school for economic reasons and more likely to have resources to pay for school fees or health services.

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Even a small working capital loan of $100 can be enough to launch a small business in a developing country that could help the individuals pull themselves and their family out of poverty. These small businesses can help create new employment opportunities, which has a beneficial impact on the local economy.

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5Improved income and Nutrition

Through small loans women are able to get needed agriculture inputs such as improved seeds and fertilizers to increase productivity and nutritional content of crops and generate more income from the market./p>

Explore Plan International Canada's reports and publications on economic empowerment.

  Read our economic-empowerment reports
saving groups

Saving Groups

Savings groups are the first step to financial inclusion for these people as they provide a mechanism to save money while building financial knowledge and skills. They can play a vital role in achieving one of the Global Goals’ ambitions to end poverty in all its forms by 2030.



Financial Inclusion

Financial literacy is a core life skill for participating in modern society. Children are growing up in an increasingly complex world where they will eventually need to take charge of their own financial future.