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Project report

Women's financial literacy, Malawi Malawi , RUN BY: CARE Australia | STATUS: COMPLETED

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 25,004

Raised from 10,275 people

Project Overview

In Malawi, food insecurity is caused by drought and poor irrigation systems, over-cultivation of land, and a lack of access to credit and training for farmers. Women are particularly affected – they produce seventy percent of household food but have less access to and control over their level of agricultural education, credit and improved technologies than that of men.

The key challenges in extending and expanding financial services to women in Malawi include lack of financial literacy, limited use of technology, lack of loan capital and lack of support in accessing markets. When financial literacy is improved for these women and they are linked to financial services and institutions, this leads to an increase in their overall income and wellbeing which in turn extends to the improvement of their family’s nutrition, healthcare and education.

To enable poor rural households in Lilongwe, Dowa and Kasungu Districts in Malawi to overcome chronic food insecurity through improving financial literacy, CARE Australia aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • 20,000 women, from 1,000 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA’s), will have increased skills in financial literacy and business management 
  • Rural communities in Lilongwe, Dowa, and Kasungu Districts will have increased access to banking through improved mobile phone banking technology and coverage 
  • Radio and video recordings will be made to facilitate agricultural extension in remote communities in the three project districts.

Project Achievements

In this reporting period, the project carried out a series of trainings in finance education, mobile network technology and business management. Project staff and women who have participated in CARE’s Village Savings and Loans Associations for more than two years and who are ready to expand their small farm and micro-business enterprises took part in the training. To date, over 15, 840 Village Savings Loans members have benefited from this project.

Training in financial literacy

  • Training of 280 Village Saving and Loans Association members including 4,423 women and 100 Village agents

Linking Village Saving Loan Associations to banks

  • 79 Village Saving Loans groups have opened bank accounts, depositing US$15,597
  • 1,185 Village Saving Loan members have opened individual accounts, depositing US$10,934.

Identification of mobile operators in the area

  • Project staff worked with trade developers to identify areas of mobile network operation to link the closest network to Village Agents and Village Saving Loan Associations.
  • This activity led to mobile operators scaling up their mobile network staff working in areas with reduced coverage to establish working relationships with the Village Savings and Loans Associations, improving access.

Develop and air three community radio programs

  • Progress has been made towards development of radio programs to air from three radio stations
  • Each radio station will produce one program in each district of Lilongwe, Dowa and Kasungu, spreading radio broadcasts will broadcast farming messages to project participants and the broader community to help improve family food security.

Gender based violence reflection meetings

  • In December 2014, project staff supported CARE’s ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence’.
  • Staff discussed how CARE’s interventions might potentially put women at risk of gender based violence, particularly women participating in village savings and loans project who could be at risk of violence. The more they become economically empowered, the more power relations in the home begin to change.
  • This led to the incorporation of gender-based violence monitoring activities into the project to raise awareness and encourage project participants to report violence to the relevant authorities.

Training of Village Agents in mobile money technology and bank operations

  • 150 Village Agents from Lilongwe, Dowa and Kasungul have been trained in mobile money technology. This knowledge will help Village Agents to pass on their knowledge to the Village Saving Loan Associations.
  • Additionally, of the 150 participants, 109 have opened their own mobile money accounts.

Training of VSLAs groups in business management

  • This project planned to train 250 VSLAs in business management through local Village Agents. However, due to community demand, 351 groups have now been trained.
  • This training was designed to equip VSLA members with knowledge and skills to select, plan and manage small scale businesses. Following the training, 2,995 VSLA members including 2,459 women have started new small businesses including selling second hand clothes, dry fish, vegetables, firewood and charcoal, maize grain and flour, doughnuts and fritters, peanuts, and soya beans.

Monitoring and Evaluation

CARE Australia routinely assesses the progress on all areas of the Financial Literacy (Malawi Microfinance) project and reports regularly to assist in making recommendations on any areas requiring improvement and adjustment. 

How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
***World Nomads UK
Travel Insurance Direct NZ
World Nomads Australia
World Nomads NZ
CARE Australia

CARE is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. As a non-religious and non-political organisation, CARE works with communities to help overcome poverty by supporting development and providing emergency relief where it is needed most.

Last year, CARE assisted 122 million people across 84 countries through 1,015 poverty-fighting projects.