While savings is one of the most important tools rural women use to smooth their incomes, deal with life events, and build income-producing assets, formal deposit services and financial education have rarely been made available to rural low-income populations. Additionally, local financial service providers (FSPs) are not sufficiently equipped to reach this market on a viable basis. These factors have also impeded economic growth in rural areas.
How We Are Helping?
Building off lessons learned from the initial MicroLead programme, MLE encourages formal FSPs to reach out to rural unbanked populations, particularly women, with deposit products and financial education tailored to clients' needs. By deploying alternative delivery channels, such as agency banking and digital financial services (DFS), and predominantly working through informal groups, the programme has set the business model for FSPs and reached over one million rural dwellers who were previously considered unbankable populations.
What Will We Do Next?
The next phase of MicroLead will combine the best of our knowledge and practice in multiple fields, including sociology (sociology behind groups being effective savings mechanisms), behavioural economics (use of human-centered design, customer journey and customer engagement strategies), technology (DFS, alternative delivery channels, etc.) and financial analysis (business case and viability). This strategy, integrated with UNCDF's ability to build partnerships and engage with market actors and governments, will result in systemic market changes which drives financial inclusion for all.