About Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE)
Phase I (2018 – 2020): In Phase I of the initiative, WAGE created a loan matching fund, which has revolved over the course of three years to match loans posted on Kiva’s platform and financed by individual lenders. The fund enables Kiva’s Salvadoran and Honduran MFI partners to provide financing more effectively to women entrepreneurs for their micro and small business activities. WAGE also conducted an assessment of opportunities and challenges that Honduran and El Salvadoran women entrepreneurs face when launching and growing sustainable businesses. The assessment findings are presented in two comprehensive reports: “Women’s Economic Empowerment in Honduras: Barriers, Opportunities, and a Path Forward” and“Women’s Economic Empowerment in El Salvador: Barriers, Opportunities, and a Path Forward”.
Phase II (2020 – 2022): Recognizing that credit alone is not sufficient to meet the multifaceted needs of women entrepreneurs, Phase II of the initiative includes a series of technical assistance (TA) interventions, informed by the two in-country assessments conducted in Phase I. In response to the need for business and planning skills for women entrepreneurs, WAGE designed the Resilient Life Resilient Business (RLRB) Education Modulewhich increases women entrepreneurs’ business skills for long-term growth and planning for personal safety and business risks. The training will be delivered over the course of Phase II of the initiative. WAGE held multi-stakeholder dialogues with MFIs and other key stakeholders to discuss key findings and recommendations from the in-country assessments and identify ways that the stakeholders can implement the recommendations, both individually and collectively. Throughout Phase II, WAGE has expanded its TA to MFIs by providing them Social Performance Management (SPM) support and Gender and Power Dynamics trainings. These trainings have enabled WAGE local partner MFI staff to explore their individual gender biases and reflect on how these biases impact women and shape power and conflict dynamics in the home and workplace. TA in the area of SPM is building the capacity of MFI partners to design gender-responsive products and collaborate with other stakeholders to offer more integrated services to female clients.To provide those integrated services,WAGE has facilitated linkages between the MFIs and the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) network of community services and resources for women.
OUR WORK IN EL SALVADOR AND HONDURAS
Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) is a global consortium to advance the status of women and girls, led by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) in close partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Grameen Foundation, and Search for Common Ground (Search). WAGE works to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and private sector organizations in target countries to improve the prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV); advance the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda; and support women’s economic empowerment (WEE). In this context, WAGE provides direct assistance to women and girls, including information, resources, and services they need to succeed as active and equal participants in the global economy and public life. WAGE also engages in collaborative research and learning to build a body of evidence on relevant promising practices in these thematic areas. To account for the deeply interconnected nature of women’s and girls’ experiences, WAGE’s initiatives employ approaches that are highly collaborative, integrated, and inclusive. WAGE is funded by the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.
Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in El Salvador and Honduras (RBI) is WAGE’s first strategic initiative focusing on WEE. Together with Kiva, an online loan platform that connects lenders to indigent entrepreneurs across the globe to alleviate poverty, WAGE provides financial support to women entrepreneurs and works with local microfinance institutions (MFIs) and CSOs to reduce legal and policy barriers that women face in starting and growing sustainable businesses.
Our vision is a world in which women and girls enjoy equality, freedom from violence and poverty, and meaningful inclusion in the processes that shape their communities, nations, and international affairs.
In addition to our partnership with Kiva, WAGE has established meaningful partnerships with and among MFIs and CSOs in El Salvador and Honduras to ensure a holistic approach to address the multifaceted problems facing women entrepreneurs in Central America. WAGE’s three MFI partners in El Salvador and Honduras include ODEF, Credicampo, and PADECOMSM. ODEF is a Honduras-based MFI that focuses on providing women in rural and marginal urban areas loans for sustainable development and quality of life improvement. Credicampo is based in El Salvador and specializes in providing loans to family business in rural markets. PADECOMSM Credito has five offices across El Salvador that serve a variety of business such as farms, small industry, commerce, and service.
Building on the results of the barrier assessments, Grameen conducted a rapid review of existing work in SPM. With assistance from Grameen, MFI partners have begun creating gender-responsive strategies to reduce barriers to WEE and integrating them into their existing missions. WAGE will then provide the MFIs tailored TA over a period of two years, directly responding to the strategies.
WAGE facilitated relationships between all three MFIs and IRC and its Cuentanos platform. Cuentanos is a digital platform that refers women and others to community services and resources, including GBV support and referrals. By creating these relationships, WAGE has leveraged the existing relationship that women have with their MFIs to improve their awareness of and access to CSOs providing essential services (such as GBV services).
expand and grow
REDUCING BARRIERS TO WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT IN EL SALVADOR AND HONDURAS
A loan matching fund, administered by Kiva, matches, dollar-for-dollar, the amount that Kiva’s lenders provide through Kiva's platform to women in El Salvador and Honduras. These resources will enable women entrepreneurs in both countries to access micro-loans to improve their livelihoods. The fund leverages Kiva’s crowd-funded, 0% interest, risk tolerant, and socially connected capital to help finance the delivery of flexible loan products tailored to women’s needs. The loan matching account has been deployed and re-deployed automatically, multiplying the impact of contribution over time.
Increase access to financial services for women entrepreneurs
WAGE designed and conducted an assessment of barriers to women's economic empowerment. With local partners, we collected and analyzed data at multiple levels, including primary and secondary source information on the enabling environment and primary data and insights collected from women entrepreneurs and MFI staff.
lending to women
OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
Create relationships with the MFIs and local CSOs to provide women entrepreneurs access to additional services.