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Initiatives




Adolescent Boys & Girls Program for Gender Equity in Maharashtra, India

March 21, 2017 | Sara Mitra

2015-Ongoing Background In India, deeply-rooted notions of power and gender have led to the cultural acceptance of excessive mistreatment and adverse health outcomes of girls and women. Girls in India age five or less are 75% more likely to die than their male counterparts (Census of India, 2011). In addition, women who marry earlier (before age 15) are found to have their first birth an average of three years before women who are married between 15 and 20, and seven years earlier than women who marry between 21 and 25 … Continued


Chuma Cha Azimai: Mobilizing Women-Owned Micro and Small Enterprises for Financial Inclusion of Young Women in Rural Zambia

March 21, 2017 | Sara Mitra

Background Women entrepreneurs, particularly young women in rural communities, face significant barriers to maintaining and expanding their businesses due to inaccessibility of formal financial services, limited access to capital, and lack of technical skills. Financial exclusion of women undermines sustainable and inclusive development, in general, and household economic growth and mobility, in particular. To promote women’s financial inclusion and growth of women-owned micro and small enterprises in rural Zambia, we are proposing to test and evaluate a multi-level digital banking model with Chuma cha Azimai (women-owned wealth). Activities and Collaborations … Continued


Employability and Asset Development Program for Young Women Living with HIV in Zambia

March 20, 2017 | Sara Mitra

Background In Zambia, poverty and income inequality remain a key driver of the HIV epidemic. Women continue to be at a higher risk of living in poverty than men. In addition women tend to have more limited livelihood and employment opportunities. Lack of financial security has driven women to engage in activities that put them at a greater risk of HIV acquisition. For instance, young women are more likely to be involved in an age-disparate relationship, engage in transactional sex, and have multiple and concurrent partners as ways to cope … Continued


Financial Inclusion for Female Entrepreneurs to Increase Sanitation in India’s Urban Slums

March 19, 2017 | Sara Mitra

2014-Ongoing Background Financial exclusion and poor sanitation are urgent social and economic development issues in India. India is home to 21% of the world’s 2 billion unbanked and underbanked adults. Financial exclusion disproportionately affects the poor in India. Compared with 59% of adults in the richest 60% of households, only 44% of adults in the poorest 40% of households have bank accounts (Demirguc-Kunt, 2015). Regarding sanitation, India accounts for 600 million of the nearly 1.1 billion people worldwide who regularly defecate in the open due to the absence of sanitation facilities. … Continued


Siyakha Youth Assets Testing and Evaluating the Impacts of Youth Employability Interventions

March 19, 2017 | Angie Barker

2015-Ongoing Background Youth unemployment is a pressing economic, political and social concern in present day South Africa. A wide range of factors are pertinent to understanding youth unemployment in South Africa and the region. Unemployment rates are closely related to one’s level of education and the low skills profile of the majority of young South Africans. Many youth drop out of the education system before completing high school and few hold further or higher education qualifications that could increase their likelihood of finding a job or moving into self-employment. The … Continued


Chuma na Uchizi (Health and Wealth): Impacts of Integrated HIV and Livelihoods Programs

March 15, 2017 | Claire Bates

2013 – 2016 Background Zambia faces many challenges, including inadequate healthcare, education, financial services, employment, infrastructure and HIV/AIDS pandemic with an estimated 1,177,614 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in 2015. In addition to the struggle with one of the highest rates of HIV prevalence among individuals aged 15-49 representing 14% of Zambia’s population, 83% of the population lives on less than $2 USD per day. Many PLHIV are also living in poverty and have limited access to healthcare, proper nutrition, and antiretroviral (ARV) medications. PLHIV are not only more likely … Continued


YouthSave Ghana: Testing Impacts of Savings on Youth Financial Capability and Development

February 21, 2017 | Angie Barker

Background Youth in developing countries are able to save and accumulate financial assets if they have access to formal savings products, as well as the encouragement and support to save (Chowa & Ansong, 2010; Ssewamala & Ismayilova, 2009). The Global Financial Index indicates that in 2013, only 44% of the world’s youth aged 18 to 25 years had a bank account, and 18% had saved the previous year (Demirguc-Kunt, Asli, Leora Klapper, Dorothe Singer, & Peter Van Oudheusden, 2015). Access to formal financial services leads to higher financial capability, which … Continued


Assets Africa: Wealth Effects of an Asset-Building Intervention in Rural Households

January 31, 2017 | Angie Barker

2005-2009 Background Throughout the Sub-Saharan Africa region, common pathways out of poverty are hinged on asset building including land improvement (e.g., access to land and start-up capital), higher education and skills, having multiple income sources, and business gains (e.g., improved production of cash crops and livestock; Krishna, 2010). A complementary pathway to building assets involves building savings. Savings is defined as either the postponement of consumption or moving resources through time (Schreiner, 2004). Access to financial services, including savings products, is an important pathway to asset accumulation. However, competitive and … Continued