In Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a cooperation with CARE to extend existing Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) for agricultural financing. Women who own small agriculture-based enterprises will be able to create capital and access loans through the collaboration, allowing them to invest in and grow their businesses, guaranteeing long-term economic sustainability for themselves and their families.
VSLAs are member-driven community funds that pool resources and provide low-interest loans to promote financial inclusion and independence. The partnership advances Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Women’s Economic Development Initiative, which has invested $65 million in training opportunities for women around the world since 2007 to help them develop marketable skills in 12 vocational tracks in high-demand industries, allowing them to achieve economic independence.
“Access to capital and credit allows women to apply their skills, grow their businesses, invest in their families, and achieve economic independence – with benefits that spread throughout communities,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg L.P. and 108th Mayor of New York City. “Too often, that access is lacking – but our partnership with CARE is helping to fix that, and we’re looking forward to expanding our work together through this new collaboration.”
The Women’s Economic Development Initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies brings together government agencies, corporations, and organizations to give individuals with long-term income and civic participation possibilities. Since 2007, Bloomberg Philanthropies has collaborated with partners to empower women and families with vocational training, financial literacy, and health and wellness education. Bloomberg Philanthropies has made investments in over 568,000 women around the world, benefiting over two million children and family members.
“Women enrolled in the economic development programs funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies immediately invest in their children once they earn an income. With increased income and assets, they become decision-makers on their children’s education, competitors in the international marketplace, participants in local elections, and leaders in their local governments,” said Verna Eggleston who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Women’s Economic Development Initiative. “We know that VSLAs work, providing entrepreneurs with access to banking resources and capital. Through this partnership with CARE, we are proudly providing more avenues for women to succeed for years to come.”
The collaboration was unveiled during Expo 2020 Dubai. Sustainable Growers, the home of Question Coffee and the Coffee Academy and a Bloomberg Philanthropies partner, has been named one of 50 development projects highlighted by Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Programme.