Want business profitability to grow by 17%?

Create informed consumers.

The global financial crisis in 2008 happened because of bad financial products that consumers didn’t understand. Applying the opposite idea in Rwanda, women’s profitability went up by 17% per business because women became more informed borrowers. 68% more women in Rwanda’s Skilling for Change program can better identify which financial products are right for them than could in 2014, when the project started.

And it’s not just business profitability that has gone up. Household investment patterns have changed. Women told CARE that “money that used to go to beer and tobacco now goes to the VSLA.”

In partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and with the support of Accenture, CARE Rwanda worked with more than 16,000 women to help them build the skills and confidence they need to overcome barriers to finance and business success.

What did we accomplish?

  • More investments in business: 77% of project participants increased their investments in business—through savings, through loans from the VSLAs, and through formal access to credit.
  • Higher profits: Profitability went up by 17% per business owned. 96% of people in the program were able to sustain or increase their business revenue.
  • Better family finances: Families’ financial situations improved by 33%, and individual women saw their financial situation improve by 110%.
  • Better access to credit: 26% of women were able to access formal loans—none of whom had access before the program.

How did we get there?

  • Help women learn skills: 67% of women in the program felt that they had improved their skills after new financial literacy training for 16,747 women.
  • Work through existing systems: The project built on CARE’s VSLA Agent model to quickly reach women across the network. They also built on the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s mentoring platform to give 80 women access to special skills and training.
  • Build women’s confidence: 24% more women are confident in repaying loans. That’s just one of the business skills where women feel more equipped after the project gave specialized training to 159 women.
  • Focus on relationships: Women are 57% more confident that they can build business relationships they need. Not only that, but relationships in the household got better—men trust their wives more, and families make more decisions together.

Want to learn more?

Check out the final evaluation.