Economic Development Economic Development

Despite economic growth in many countries, often there is a widening gap between rich and poor

Despite economic growth in many countries, often there is a widening gap between rich and poor

The world’s poorest people often live in remote rural areas, have less education, fewer assets, and less access to markets.

This means that, despite economic growth in many countries, often there is a widening gap between rich and poor and between those who can and cannot access opportunities. Not having enough money to survive means having less access to schools, safe water, and other vital services.

We’re helping to ensure that people have the agricultural skills and training to get the most out of their investments. Growing more food means fewer people go hungry and provides people, especially women, with more opportunities and a means of becoming self-sufficient.

Whether it is cash savings, crops, seeds, or livestock, we’re training people in small-business management so that they can better diversify their incomes. This helps to guarantee plentiful food, year-round.

economic-development-icon-400Fast Facts

  • 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty, less than $1.25 per day.
  • Women and girls make up the majority of the poorest people in the world today.
  • Around 1/2 of the world’s hungry people are from small farming communities. Another 20% belong to landless families dependent on farming.
  • The Asia-Pacific region is missing out on up to US$47 billion annually as a result of women’s limited access to employment opportunities.

CARE’s Village Savings and Loans Associations

Often, the poor cannot access the financial loans or credit that could help improve their lives. Our microfinance projects help the most vulnerable to efficiently save and invest small amounts of money to grow a new business – money that can then be used to buy food and send children to school.

CARE launched our first Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLAs) in Niger in 1991, with the aim of helping to provide basic financial services for people who lacked access to traditional banking services.

In 2014, our pioneering program now has more than four million members in 26 countries, more than 70 per cent of whom are women.

Our experience in Africa shows that over 95 per cent of VSLAs continue to operate successfully for at least two years – and over 87 per cent for at least six years, often long after their formal relationship with CARE ends.

CARE’s Access Africa program

When women earn, whole families benefit. With improved financial security, other areas of women’s lives also improve: they can afford healthcare, to purchase uniforms for their children, and are more likely to play a leadership role in their communities.

Our Access Africa village savings program gives women and girls vital financial skills to build their businesses by providing training in savings, loans and financial literacy.

CARE launched Access Africa in June 2008. This ten-year program aims to break the cycle of poverty and transform it into a cycle of rising income, improved health, better education and greater participation in communities and nations.

Since commencing this program, CARE has reached more than two million additional households, generating $33.5 million in assets for poor households. Read more about the Access Africa program.

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