Making Women’s Work Visible: Finance for Rural Women
This study presents findings useful for institutions interested in expanding credit and finance to rural women. It is based on a project initiated by Women’s World Banking (WWB) in 2011 to develop financial products for women in Latin America with a goal of reaching 24,000 new clients by 2014. The project involved WWB partnering with three institutions that saw rural women as an opportunity in an untapped market segment: Interfisa Financiera (Paraguay), Caja Arequipa (Peru), and Fundación delamujer (Colombia). Evaluation of the project suggested that rural loans should be tailored to rural families and the success of a loan product in urban areas does not guarantee that the same offering or methodology will fit in a rural context. Key findings include:
- Staff training must go beyond credit analysis;
- Distribution channels are critical to reach scale for rural financial products;
- Besides credit, women want a full suite of financial products and services;
- Institutions should gather and use data to adapt and make adjustments to reach targets;
- Word-of-mouth and targeted community marketing are most effective methods of attracting rural clients;
- Having an institutional culture that values rural women as clients is critical for the success of a financing program for rural women.