Changing marriages and changing lives with the Digital Sub-Wallets project

Women—especially married women—are telling dramatic stories of change after they participated in couple’s discussion sessions and received access to bank accounts. 

“My spouse now understands that I have needs, too.” That’s what 60% of women in CARE Uganda’s Digital Sub-Wallets and Household Dialogue project said when we asked what had changed in their lives. Women—especially married women—are telling dramatic stories of change after they participated in couple’s discussion sessions and got access to bank accounts. Women who were able to control their own bank accounts reported less depression, less stress, and a better sense of control in their lives.


“He takes care of the things at home, takes care of me. He now helps me on the housework. Really my husband changed after the dialogues. Everything moves on well.”
Edith, a project participant

The Digital Sub-Wallets and Household Dialogue project in Uganda ran from 2016-2020, and reached 2,166 people directly and 4,852 indirectly with $968,673 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was a randomized control trial that is providing evidence of what works to change gender equality as part of savings programming.

What did we accomplish?

  • Women feel more financially secure: 30% of women say that they can save more for the future, and 30% say they are better able to provide for their children. Women were 6.5% more satisfied with their ability to save after the project.
  • Women have better lives at home: 81% of women who were in couple’s discussion sessions said they saw positive changes in their husband’s behavior, and 96% of those women said that the change lasted. 53% of women said they get more respect from their husband, and 35% say there is less conflict at home.
  • Decisions are more equal: 61% of women in the discussion sessions say that their spouse now shares family financial decisions with them.
  • People are meeting their financial goals: 72% of women and 79% of men met their financial goals. 49% of married women.

How did we get there?

  • Helping couples have tough conversations: The project hosted household dialogue sessions—a chance for men and women to have conversations about finances and equality with support from a trained professional to keep that conversation constructive. Having husband’s share financial information with their wives significantly reduced women’s stress.
  • Offering new savings options: The project worked with Post Bank to offer savings accounts where women could designate specific savings goals—like paying school fees or purchasing land. 54% of unmarried women, and 55% of men signed up for bank accounts with the project. 98% of women continued to use these banks accounts at the end of the project.
  • Supporting women to control their own savings: The biggest predictor of women getting better mental health was if they were able to make the decision themselves to open the bank account and maintain control of that account independently. The project offered women the option to open accounts in private to increase their control of their own money.
  • Generating evidence: The project conducted a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) that tested the difference between women that got dialogues and savings options, women that just got savings options, and women who did not participate in any project activities. This gives us rigorous evidence we can use to compare what is working and how.

Want to learn more?

Read the project evaluation.