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 Africa. As one of the largest private foundations its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.
Oxfam America and Freedom from Hunger designed a rigorous mixed-methods research program to evaluate SfC’s impacts, successes, and challenges. The most extensive study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in Mali conducted by economists from Innovations for Poverty Action combined with a qualitative longitudinal study conducted by anthropologists from the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona.
The following is an summary of some top level findings of this report.
- Most households in SfC villages are poor. Eighty-two percent of households in study villages fall below the $1.25/day poverty line (i.e., their total household consumption falls below $1.25/day per person). Within these communities, financially and socially active women are most likely to join SfC;
- Women in SfC villages increase their savings and have greater access to credit than women in control villages;
- SfC builds resilience and helps families cope with food shortages.
- Women in SfC villages demonstrate better understanding of the causes and prevention of malaria than women in control village;
- SfC members report more village-level solidarity, but RCT data show no change.