Empowering Women with Access to Savings, Credit, and Health Messages

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Technical Highlight

In rural communities across Madagascar, access to formal financial services is limited or nonexistent. This challenge impacts community health when people cannot afford to pay for preventive or curative health services. In collaboration with partner Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the USAID Mikolo Project promoted the creation of savings and internal lending communities (SILCs) at the Fokontany (village) level to encourage individuals and families to regularly save income and to provide them with access to credit on favorable terms.

Community health volunteers (CHVs) provide primary health care services to isolated populations and are members of community-level health committees (COSANs). To help motivate CHVs to actively carry out activities to increase the use of community- based primary health care services, the USAID Mikolo Project implemented the COSAN Savings and Loan Funds (CSLF) approach, in which savings and credit groups were created specifically for COSAN members.

A total of 2,458 SILC groups were established, reaching 41,786 households. They accrued the equivalent of USD$650,000 in savings. Seventy-four percent of the members were women and 639 of the groups had CHV members.

In addition, 89 CSLF groups were established, and they accrued $14,000 in savings.