Goal: Women and youth (15-25) have diversified and sustainable livelihoods as a result of their equitable financial inclusion and expanded economic opportunity.

WAYFIP supports the financial inclusion aspirations of women and youth who encounter a distinct set of circumstances, which places them amongst the most vulnerable and marginalized members of their community. Such challenges include limited livelihood prospects and educational opportunities, low ownership of assets, and unequal decision-making powers at household and community level. However, despite these disadvantages, youth are often frequently considered to be more entrepreneurial and open to new ideas than other age groups.

Similarly, the women in WAYFIP’s impact population have also shown themselves to be successful at business and trade. We believe financial inclusion for women and youth will catalyse new and diversified businesses in local markets, and reduce poverty and vulnerability in their households. On this basis CARE International in Uganda identified “Women and youth (15-25 years) in financially excluded households” as the Impact Group for WAYFIP.   

WAYFIP supports women’s empowerment ambitions across Uganda with an emphasis on sustainable and diversified livelihoods through engaging with markets and stimulating access to and utilization of financial services. WAYFIP also improves gender relations within the community and household environment through addressing household gender power dynamics in decision making.

Men are also engaged in support of women and youth’s financial inclusion so they have the same opportunities to engage with transparent and fair markets in support of their household livelihood strategies. Key allies/partners are the private sector (banks, MFI etc.) who provides financial services appropriate to WAYFIP’s Impact Group and technology companies who provide the cell phone-based infrastructure on which today’s financial services and products are increasingly dependent.

Engaging Government in terms of establishing a consistently applied regulatory environment and ensuring economic policies do not discriminate against women and youth is an important element of the WAYFIP design. Local CSOs (including national and local NGO and CBO) have a role supporting women and youth’s initial market engagement (Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) groups etc.

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The Digitalized Sub-Wallets for Increased Financial Empowerment of Women project

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded Digitalized Sub-Wallets project is being implemented from November 2015 to December 2019 in partnership with a research team from Oxford University and Airtel. It will test an innovative approach to improving women’s equitable influence over household financial decisions by utilizing mobile financial technology:

  • Mobile money sub-wallets specifically targeting women’s priority needs
  • Household financial planning modules targeting gender and intergenerational conflict resolution
The main goal of the initiative is to increase women’s social and personal empowerment. The project targets men, women, and adolescent boys and girls in the Western Region of Uganda. In total, the Digitalized Sub-Wallets project is expected to reach 4,182 direct beneficiaries (all women and girls) and around 180,862 indirect beneficiaries (all women and girls).


Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas (PROFIRA)
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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded PROFIRA project is being implemented in different regions in Uganda: in Eastern Uganda from October 2016 to September 2019 in partnership with Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO); in North-Eastern Uganda from October 2016 to September 2019 in partnership with the Karamoja Private Sector Development Promotion Centre (KPSDPC); and in the West Nile Region from November 2016 to October 2019 in partnership with the West Nile Private Sector Promotion Centre (WENIPS).

The project has a specific focus on women’s and youth’s financial inclusion. In total, PROFIRA is expected to reach 95,000 direct beneficiaries (of whom 70% are women and girls) and more than 6,304,591 indirect beneficiaries (of whom 3,207,055 women and girls) across the three regions. The objectives for PROFIRA in all three regions include:

  • To increase the financial inclusion of 95,000 members (of whom 70% are women or girls and 15% youth) through the establishment of 3,800 VSLAs
  • To equip 60% of the total VSLA members with the requisite skills, attitudes and knowledge, which increases their chances of starting and sustaining enterprises
  • To ensure that 50% of the households with VSLA beneficiaries are practicing good financial management at household level


The Digital Financial Services project

The Financial Sector Deepening Uganda funded Digital Financial Services project was implemented from October 2015 to February 2017. The main goal for the Digital Linkages project was that Rural and peri-urban youth (aged 15-30 years) in Kibaale district have increased access to financial services and engage meaningfully with the financial market actors for sustainable financial inclusion. The project was implemented in Kibaale district in Uganda’s Western Region in partnership with Post Bank, Airtel, Community Vision and Kibaale District Farmers Association.
The objectives for the project included:

  • Establish a structure that will enable youth to access formal financial services
  • Organize 12,339 youth into 494 Youth Savings and Loans Associations (YSLAs)
  • Technical support that builds the financial industry’s knowledge base for youth financial inclusion
Barclays Digital Linkages

The Barclays Bank funded Digital Linkages project is being implemented from May 2016 to May 2017. This project builds on two of CARE’s previous projects: the Banking on Change project in partnership with Barclays Bank and PLAN running between 2009 and 2015 as well as a pilot project promoting Ledger Links and E-keys in partnership with Grameen Foundation and Barclays Bank. Evaluations conducted of the Banking on Change project have shown that for most VSLAs, long distances to branches of Barclays bank present a cost and a risk for members. They also increase the insecurity of funds during the travel to and from the bank. Moreover, when money is deposited in the bank, there is no guarantee that the group’s records will remain safe since they remain in the box and do not have any digital recovery or back up.

The project is implemented in Iganga, Luuka, Namayingo, Busia, Bugiri, Soroti, Kasese, Kabarole, Arua, Lira, Gulu, and Nebbi districts in Uganda’s Eastern and Northern Regions. CARE is working with 5 local implementing partners: South Eastern Private Sector Promotion Enterprise (SEPSEL), Uganda Women's Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), Kitgum Agricultural Development Association (KADA), Foundation for Urban & Rural Advancement (FURA), and the West Nile Private Sector Development Promotion Centre (WENIPS). In total, the Digital Linkages project is expected to reach 20,000 direct beneficiaries (of whom 13,800 are women and girls) and 24,000 indirect beneficiaries (of whom 16,560 women and girls) across the three regions.

The objectives for the project include:

  • Youth have improved economic skills
  • Youth have greater financial inclusion opportunities through linkages to financial services, employment creation and business skills
  • All VSLA members have improved business skills and / or increased access to formal financial services 


Banking on Change, Phase I and Phase II (BOC I & II)

The Barclays Bank funded BOC project was implemented from October 2009 to December 2015. CARE Uganda’s work has shown that investing in women’s and youth’s access to financial services benefits entire societies. When women have control over household incomes, they tend to invest wisely not only in income generating activities and micro enterprises, but also in the welfare of their families. Financial inclusion is also a powerful tool to change lives of youth. With over 56% of the population below 18 years of age and 78% below 35, creating economic opportunities for youth is vital for the long-term peace and stability of Uganda. However, many young women and men do not have access to land, productive assets, or financial services.

The main goal for the BOC project was to improve the financial inclusion of (young) women and men in Uganda through a savings-led microfinance program.

The BOC project was extended in order to respond to the great need and demand for financial services appropriate for poor and vulnerable youth, women and men in rural Uganda. It had a greater focus on providing more in-depth financial skills training as well as establishing more youth savings groups and scaling up linkages to formal financial institutions. The project was implemented in Arua and Nebbi districts in Northern Uganda as well as Busia, Bugiri, Iganga and Soroti districts in Eastern Uganda.  The international partners include Barclays Bank and Plan International. In order to ensure local ownership and the sustainability of interventions, CARE partnered with 4 local implementing partners: Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), the West Nile Private Sector Promotion Centre (WENIPS), South Eastern Private Sector Promotion Enterprise (SEPSEL) and the Iganga District Farmer’s Association (IDFA). In total, BOC I and II reached more than 43,884 direct beneficiaries (of whom 31,063 are women and girls) and 194,000 indirect beneficiaries.


Sustainable Response for Improving the Lives of Vulnerable Children and their Households (SCORE)

The USAID funded SCORE project was implemented from April 2013 to April 2016 in Ntungamo and Rukungiri districts in Western Uganda as well as Buyende, Kamuli, Iganga, Luuka, Mayuge, Namayingo and Bugiri districts in Eastern Uganda. SCORE was implemented by a consortium of 4 agencies, including Association of Volunteers for International Service (AVSI) as lead, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), Family Health International (FHI360) and CARE, with CARE being the technical lead for the socio-economic strengthening component.
CARE Uganda’s local implementing partners included Ankole Private Sector Promotion Centre Ltd (APROCEL), Community Vision Uganda (COMVIS), RUDFA and South Eastern Private Sector Promotion Enterprise Ltd (SEPSPEL). The implementation team used a multi-sectoral approach involving all sectors at district, sub-county and community levels. District local governments, other Civil Society Organizations, sister projects, community structures and community volunteers significantly contributed to the success of project implementation.
The overall goal of SCORE was to decrease the vulnerability of critically vulnerable children and their households. The objectives for CARE’s socio-economic strengthening component included:

  • Improved socio-economic status of Vulnerable Children and their households
  • Improved food security and nutrition status of Vulnerable Children and their households
  • Increased availability of Protection and legal services for Vulnerable Children and their household members
  • Increased capacity of vulnerable women and children and their households to access, acquire or provide critical services
In total, SCORE reached more than 20,000 direct participants (of whom 10,000 were women and girls) and 100,000 indirect participants (of whom 51,000 were women and girls). Other consortium partners focused on the following additional objectives for SCORE:
  • To reduce the incidence of HIV among adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 10-24
  • To provide Early Childhood Development services to children 0-5years


Promoting the Village Savings and Loans Association Model to Augment Cash Transfer (CAST)

The Department for International Development (DFID) funded CAST project was implemented from July 2012 to April 2014. The project was implemented in the districts targeted by the Government of Uganda’s Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment program (SAGE): Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts in Central Region, Kaberamaido and Katakwi districts in Eastern Uganda, Kyejonjo and Kyegegwa districts in Western Uganda, and Kole, Apac Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Moroto, Zombo and Nebbi districts in Northern Uganda. The main goal for the CAST project was to improve the wellbeing of critically poor women, men and children by increasing their access to financial services on a sustainable basis.

CARE partnered with 8 local implementing partners: Mid-North Private Sector Development Company, Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), Karamoja Private Sector Development Promotion Centre (KPSDPC), Karamoja Diocesan Development Services (KDDS), Bukomero Development Foundation (BDF), Central Private Sector Development Centre Limited (CPSDCL), West Nile Private Sector Promotion Centre (WENIPS) and Community organization for Rural Enterprise Activity Management (CREAM). In total, CAST reached more than 100,718 direct beneficiaries (of whom 60,000 women and girls) and 1,400,000 indirect beneficiaries (of whom 1,200,000 women and girls).

CARE trained and mentored all implementing staff and community based village agents in socio-economic issues and the VSLA methodology. CARE and partners established 3,508 VSLAs reaching a total of 100,718 critically poor women, men and children. All groups were trained in and trained in enterprise Selection Planning and Management as well as financial literacy. The total savings increased from 34,614,500 Ugandan Shillings in 2012 to 9,729,701,550 Ugandan Shillings in 2014. The average saving per member at end line was 96,603 Ugandan Shillings.


Financial Literacy and Linkage Program in Northern Uganda (FLIP)

The European Union funded FLIP project was implemented from August 2012 to November 2013 in partnership with Barclays Bank, Bank of Africa and Post Bank Uganda. It was part of the European Union’s and the Government of Uganda’s broader Northern Uganda Agricultural Livelihoods Recovery Program (ALREP). The programme was aimed at supporting production at farm level, revitalizing production facilities, increasing access to finance for production, agro-processing for small and medium scale enterprises and strengthening the nearest service provision to farmers, so as to speed up the agricultural recovery and incomes of the rural population. The main goal for the FLIP project was to increase the availability of agricultural finance to producers, traders and processors. The core of the program was to enroll well-established local VSLAs into formal banking practices with the aim to protect their savings, access and properly manage larger loans from Formal Financial Institutions (FFIs) for agricultural development, and reduce risks, increase coverage and profitability of FFIs in their operations with the rural agricultural sector. The expected results for the project included:

  • Increase the financial literacy of small and medium scale actors (individuals and groups) in the agricultural sector in Northern Uganda
  • Increase small and medium scale actors (individuals and groups) that save with and acquire loans from formal financial institutions for agricultural and agri-business purposes
  • Ensure that formal financial institutions’ procedures and products are more geared towards the needs of small and medium scale actors in the agricultural sector
CARE and partners trained 38 community-based financial literacy trainers and provided necessary materials for further trainings on literacy or agricultural of community members. Many trainers continued training other members of their community, so that by January 2014, more than 200 trainers were in place throughout the targeted districts. These community-based trainers supported and trained 714 VSLAs with a total membership of 17,850 community members in financial literacy. 220 out of the 714 VSLA groups were linked to access bank services for the first time. More than 75% of VSLAs supported by FLIP increased their VSLA rating by at least one level. DOWNLOAD MORE INFO


Promotion of savings and Loans Association among Vanilla farmers (UVAN)

CARE Uganda with the support from Estee Lauder has been implementing Village Savings & Loan (VS&L) Associations among 1600 vanilla farmers in the Sub-counties of Ngogwe,Najja,kasawo,Mende, Kimenyede and Zirobwe in the Districts of Mukono, Buikwe,Luwero and Wakiso. These sub-counties are aligned to Vanilla growing Zones to facilitate effective mobilization and monitoring of both Vanilla farming and VSL activities. Under the VSL methodology, members contribute a small amount of money in the form of savings each week to a pooled fund that is then used to provide loans to members of the group.

The project has been implemented in partnership with Uganda Vanilla Association (UVAN) for a period of 15 months starting March 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. UVAN Ltd is an indigenous company that buys Vanilla from farmers in bulk for export. The major purpose of the project is to improve access to financial services by establishing VS&L associations among the Vanilla farmers in Mukono; thus creating an opportunity for them to generate significant savings and have easy access to credit to re-invest in their Vanilla activities as well as improve their livelihoods. CARE’s role is to train the staff of UVAN and develop their capacity to train the VS&L groups in the methodology and continue providing them regular support supervision and monitoring.

Objective 1: 1650 project clients will have access to savings and credit services through village savings and loans associations’ methodology enabling them to better manage seasonal fluctuations and demands for finance
Objective 2: 1650 project clients will own and properly manage viable income generating activities thus enabling them to earn a better living
Objective 3: Uganda Vanilla Association strengthened and has technical capacity to support further VSLA roll-out and sustainability
Donors: Estee Lauder
Project Duration: March 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011
Location: Sub-counties of Ngogwe, Najja, Kasawo, Mende, Kimenyede and Zirobwe in the Districts of Mukono, Buikwe,Luwero and Wakiso.
Number of beneficiaries: 1650 project clients


Save-Up Project

CARE International has been implementing Save-Up project for the last 3 years (2008 – August 2011). The project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been implementing four interventions: Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA), Selection, Planning and Management of Income Generating Activities (SPM), Micro Insurance mainly focusing on the funeral insurance and; Village Agents as a VSLA sustainability approach. The project has been implemented in partnership with thirteen implementing partner organizations.

Phase I came to an end on 30th August 2011 but project activities have continued in phase II. In July 2011, CARE Uganda through Access Africa was granted a cost extension for a period of 15 months. Under this extension CARE Uganda through seven local implementing partner organizations (IPOs) who have implemented SAVE UP in the study treatment areas will establish and support VSLAs in the designated control areas. The VSLA target for the cost extension is to reach 27,160 persons organized in 1,358 VSLAs.

The project goal for phase I was to: “Make a significant contribution to poverty reduction in Uganda by improving the livelihoods of 100,000 people and their households through sustainable access to quality financial services for the very poor by 2011”

Donors:The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
Project Duration: Phase I (2008 – August 2011), Phase II (Sept 2011 –Dec 2012)
Location: Greater North (Teso, Lango, Acholi, Karamoja and West Nile)
Number of beneficiaries: 1st phase: 100,000 poor and marginalized people, 2nd phase: 27,160

Scaling Up Savings to Augment Income Nationally (SUSTAIN) Program

In February 2006, CARE International in Uganda in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) through Financial Sector Deepening Project Uganda (FSDU) and Plan International in Uganda launched a national wide program known as SUSTAIN to promote VSL methodology. The VSL methodology is a savings-based financial service, which facilitates the development of unregulated and usually informal group members’ savings for their loan capital with no external liabilities to any lending institution. The program target is to provide financial intermediation services to 100,000 poor and marginalized people countrywide through Village Savings and Loans mechanisms. The project covered all the four regions in the country and worked with locally based Implementing Organizations (IOs) in 28 districts: Iganga, Namutumba, Busia, Bugiri, Palisa, Budaka, Soroti, Lira, Dokolo, Kitgum, Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Kabong, Abim, Arua, Maracha-Terego, Yumbe, Moroto, Nebbi, Koboko, Kabarole, Kasese, Kibaale, Kyenjojo, Luwero, Kamuli and Tororo.

After one year and five months of implementation, CARE International in Uganda commissioned a group of consultants to conduct an impact assessment of the SUSTAIN program. This report presents the findings of the assessment.

By December 2007, 4342 (101%) of the VSL groups out of the planned 4272 had been formed and a total of 567 groups had graduated. In terms of the total beneficiaries, 112,460 VSL members had registered and this was way above the planned 100,000. Of these, 71% were women. Further analysis of these groups showed that cumulative savings amounted to 3,097,135,451 with the cumulative value of loans standing at 6,040,444,993.


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