Empowering Rwanda Youth through Savings-led Microfinance
This paper describes the efforts of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to introduce Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC), a savings-led microfinance methodology, to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Rwanda.
Rwandan youth, especially OVC, do not have sufficient access to education or financial credit. CRS integrates vocational training and SILC in its OVC program, providing apprentice opportunities for those who graduate from the vocational training course. The paper presents case studies and success stories to illustrate the following benefits of SILC to the youth:
- Developing financial literacy and learning skills to build sustainable enterprises;
- Strengthening financial assets and building ability to save for critical needs such as healthcare;
- Strengthening social assets, increasing social cohesion through trust-building among members.
The paper outlines marketing and delivery channels used by CRS, partnerships for increasing financial access, and monitoring and evaluation considerations. It presents expansion plans for the program that include USAID funding for a new project, developing relationships with MFIs and collaborating with a human rights group to train children in legal rights and succession planning.