Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa. As one of the largest, independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion in order to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org or follow us on Twitter @MCFoundation.
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) implemented a randomized control trial to measure the impacts of a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) program on households and women. The program began in 2009 and was implemented by CARE Malawi under the Access Africa program. Within the study period, we find that just over half of VSLA members had completed their first cycle. The impact evaluation finds impacts on financial outcomes deriving from VSLA members’ improved ability to save, along with their access to the group’s loans and social fund. We do not find significant impacts on ultimate welfare outcomes such as asset ownership and overall expenditures. However, we cannot rule out such impacts in the longer run, as members are better able to finance investments and expenditures through end-of-cycle share outs, and are able to avail of the larger loan and savings sizes associated with mature groups. However, in order to test such hypotheses, research spanning a longer timeframe would be needed.