Solutions for Financial Inclusion: Serving Rural Women

Published: January 2011

This document presents a CaseStudy for solutions for financial inclusion. Using Uganda as a CaseStudy, Women's World Banking set out to better understand the needs of rural women and to use the research and lessons learned there to make recommendations on the design and delivery of microfinance products within Uganda and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The research highlights the specific gender-based social, cultural and legal barriers that rural women face in accessing and using financial services and examines operational challenges to effectively serving this market.

Key Findings

  • While there are many challenges in sustainably meeting the needs of rural low-income women through microfi nance, overcoming these challenges and ensuring that rural women have access to fi nance is critical to the development of the sector.
  • WWB encourages institutions to adopt a holistic way of thinking about serving rural low-income women customers.
  • WWB's research has shown that offering a full suite of financial products that meet the needs of women in different stages of their lives and support women's dual roles of income-generators and caregivers helps women better cope with their financial pressures and risks.
  • Microfinance products can also be designed to help women purchase and retain control over assets, such as land, housing, livestock or gold.
  • Microfinance institutions should tailor messaging for sales scripts and marketing collateral to specifically resonate with women customers.
  • Microfinance institutions seeking to tap the rural low income women's market must be creative in adapting their sales and delivery approaches to reach women.
  • Hiring and training appropriate sales staff is a critical way to ensure that women customers enjoy a superior customer experience.
  • Microfinance institutions should consider how rural lending methodologies and collateral requirements can be better adapted to be more inclusive of women.

Populations Poor, Rural, Women

Complementary Outcomes Education And Literacy, Women's Rights

Industries Agriculture/Food Processing, Business, Finance

Publishers Women's World Banking

Geographic Focus Africa (Eastern)-Uganda

Funded by New Field Foundation