2013 was a banner year for Women Empowered (WE), which is a PCI global initiative designed and developed to promote the social and economic advancement of women.
The WE Initiative is unique among programs for women’s economic empowerment in that it is holistic, integrating social development activities into its core objectives. The WE program model, developed by PCI, is based on a group self-help concept that brings small groups of women together to teach them financial literacy and encourage communal savings and development. The women contribute a small percentage of their hard-earned money towards a group loan fund and then collectively decide how to invest the funds for future growth. Through rotational leadership and self-governance strategies, PCI’s model places equal emphasis on the development of social capital in participating women, increasing their capacity for social engagement, decision-making ability, confidence and self-efficacy.
PCI’s objective is to integrate our proven savings group methodology into programs in the 16 countries in which PCI operates, engaging 150,000 women worldwide by September of 2014.
Right on target, the WE Initiative is continuing to transform lives around the world.
- India: PCI is currently working with thousands of integrated savings, health and advocacy groups under Parivartan, a substantial community mobilization project that will reach upwards of 25,000 groups (hundreds of thousands of women) with health, advocacy and social empowerment interventions. PCI is also infusing savings and loan activities into these groups.
- Nicaragua: Nicaragua is officially on the map with 25 new WE groups with 359 members! In the next year, PCI expects to form 51 groups, reaching up to 1,020 beneficiaries.
- In Botswana, PCI is expanding implementation of the GROW methodology (Grass Roots building Our Wealth) into two new communities in rural Botswana, under the Women Empowered initiative. PCI will facilitate the organization and training of 32 new GROW savings groups in the communities of Molepolole and Kasane, engaging more than 600 vulnerable women for the first time.
- United States: The United States Border Program (USBP) – currently two each of Latino, East African and Filipino ethnic groups – began meeting in communities all over San Diego, California. These meetings were well planned, beginning in May, when PCI held a full WE training for US and Border program staff and community facilitators.
The training covered essential aspects of the WE savings and social empowerment methodology as well as specific topics related to the development of the program in the US context.
The goal is for these new groups to become self-sustained within one year, all the while connecting and networking with social, financial and community resources. They are well on their way already!