In June 2008, CARE launched its ACCESS AFRICA Village Savings and Loans Program- an ambitious ten year investment that will show dramatic returns in the fight against poverty. The program is expanding to 39 countries, providing 30 million people - 70 percent of them women - with access to a suite of basic financial services that can enable them to break the vicious cycle of poverty, transforming it into a virtuous cycle of rising income, improved health, better education and greater participation in their communities and nations.
- The Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) model has proven to be sustainable because the women who participate in it are committed to its continued success.
- Low levels of default are attributed to the fact that the model is funded solely through members' own savings and groups are self governing.
- CARE's experience in Africa shows that over 95 percent of VSLAs continue to operate successfully for at least two years, and 87 percent for at least six years - many groups in Niger have surpassed their 15-year anniversary -- after their formal relationship with CARE ends.
- Empowered, financially literate women and girls are one of the most powerful forces in the fight against poverty.