Financial inclusion that works for women

We are delighted to announce that MicroLoan Foundation Malawi is a semi-finalist in the European Microfinance Award.

The European Microfinance Award is a prestigious annual reward that promotes financial inclusion initiatives and highlight their innovating contribution in a particular area, to the development of the sector. It is funded by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and serves two parallel goals: rewarding excellence, and collecting and disseminating the most relevant practices for replication by others.

The theme of the European Microfinance Award 2022 is “Financial Inclusion that Works for Women” and it seeks to highlight organisations working in financial inclusion that aim to understand and meet women’s challenges and aspirations in order to go beyond traditional gender outreach strategies.

The competition has been fierce with a total of 88 organisations from 47 countries taking part. MicroLoan Foundation Malawi is proud to be shortlisted as one of seven semi-finalists in the run up to the 2022 European Microfinance Award.

For decades, financial inclusion has been about women’s empowerment and autonomy.

“But too often the sector has paid only lip-service to what this means, focusing merely on outreach to women rather than seeking to really understand the particular challenges and barriers that women face – in the household, in running small businesses or working in a financial institution.”

The latest Global Findex Report shows that there has been progress and more low-income women have access to financial services than ever before. However, there are still a range of social and cultural barriers for women and particularly for women in rural areas. There is a need innovative solutions and approaches to increase financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills for this demographic. This is something that has been at the core of MicroLoan Foundation since its inception. The MicroLoan model has been designed and developed based on the needs and feedback of the rural women that we serve, with an emphasis on training and ongoing support.

There is an underrepresentation of women in leadership and governance positions across the financial sector. This year’s EMA focuses on financial services providers that lead by example and promote gender-mainstreaming to ensure genuine promotion opportunities, flexible work options and representation in decision-making. This is something that resonates with MicroLoan Foundation and in Malawi we are currently undertaking a gender mainstreaming project to understand how the organisation can continue being an inclusive employer that offers excellent career progression for women.

We are proud to be recognised as an organisation aiming to address these issues.

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Published on: 15/11/2022

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