Bridging the Gender Gap in Responsible Finance
Bridging the Gender Gap in Responsible Finance is a pilot project funded by Church of Sweden and implemented by Oikocredit and two partners in Philippines: Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) and Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Sa Gitnang Luzon Inc. (ASKI) to adapt FALS methodology for gender mainstreaming in their micro-finance product and service delivery.
- Oikocredit is committed to promotion of responsible finance that is both financially sustainable and client-centric to improve social outcomes for the poor. A particular focus is on providing women with access to credit, combined with offers women finance literacy, self-development, and governance skills, in order to reduce their personal vulnerability at the same time increase their country’s development prospects. For more about Oikocredit see Oikocredit International website and gender initiatives.
- Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Sa Gitnang Luzon Inc. (ASKI) is a microfinance institution launched in 1987 to provide financial services and training in a number of provinces in the northern Philippines.
- Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) NWTF was founded in 1984 and registered in 1986 to help women achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliance, particularly in Negros Occidental’s low-income and depressed rural communities. For details of NWTF and profiles of NWTF clients see: NWTF website, Dungganon and women’s empowerment, From sari sari store to multi-family business and Angelita’s story.
Why Bridging the Gender Gap?
Although the overwhelming majority of clients are women, and there are numerous client success stories, wealth creation and empowerment in poor and disadvantaged communities are ongoing processes. For very many clients these gender inequalities continue to constrain both development of their businesses, and the degree to which they benefit from their hard work.
There have been a number of studies of impact of micro=finance in Philippines:
Impact of Microcredit in Philippines Poverty Action
Making Microfinance More Effective Dean Karlan, Rebecca Mann, Jake Kendall, Rohini Pande, Tavneet Suri, Jonathan Zinman, 2016
Addressing gender inequalities benefits not only women, but also men through empowering them to challenge negative aspects of male gender roles that lead to violence, wasteful expenditure, addictions, other health problems and hence cause a great deal of unhappiness for all concerned. Addressing gender issues both of clients and staff will have positive benefits for the MFI, not only their social mission, but also sustainability, profitability and hence longer term expansion.
Moreover in the wider context of gender policy in Philippines:
- Philippines government is a signatory of UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). A copy of the Summary of the inquiry concerning the Philippines under Article 8 of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW:
- a legal basis / framework for the ASKI gender mainstreaming policy is provided by the Philippine REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2009/08/14/republic-act-no-9710/ . This can be one of the legal basis . Also
- A Study on Gender Equality in the Labor Market in the Philippines https://www.adb.org/publications/gender-equality-labor-market-philippines
Financial Action Learning System (FALS)
Bridging the Gender Gap (BGG) adapts and integrates gender empowerment tools from Gender Action Learning for Sustainability (GALS) tools with the Financial Action Learning System (FALS) methodology.
Gender issues in micro-finance: Towards a gender policy in ASKI
(draft PPT to be updated by mid April.)
FALS aims to strengthen empowerment potential of existing financial and business training and mainstream gender in the design of the products and services of the institution, as well as improving the FI policies and practices in the context of responsible inclusive finance. Expected outcomes are that:
- Clients have a life planning and financial empowerment methodology that they can share with others in their families and communities to increase benefits from FSP products and services and help the FSP expand to new reliable clients.
- MFI has participatory tools to develop more empowering products and services for its clients, especially with poor women, on an ongoing basis as new needs arise
- MFI has a Road Map to mainstream gender empowerment into their credit policy / strategy policy and product development towards improving SPM across their areas of operation.
Oikocredit_FALS Overview interactive pdf presentation 2017 December(to be updated in April)