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Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo: The Women and Youth Saving for Empowerment Project

The Women and Youth Saving for Empowerment (WYSE) project funds the expansion of savings groups (SGs) in three countries - Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo- and uses them as drivers for social and economic development. The project will run from 2013-2017. By the end of the project, WYSE will engage over 39,000 women and youth members in more than 1,700 savings groups.

Donor
Individuals
Location
Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo
Project Start Date
July 2013
Project End Date
June 2017
Technical Areas Covered
Economic Empowerment, Savings, Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Life Skills

The WYSE project reflects Plan’s Child-Centered Community Development (CCCD) approach, in which marginalized groups of women and youth generate increased assets (personal, social, financial, and physical) and access to quality services for themselves and their children. The goal will be met through the following objectives:

  • To increase women’s and youth’s access to financial services and to improve their management of financial resources
  • To create community platforms for women and youth to engage and become change agents in their communities

WYSE - Case Studies

Plan has implemented savings groups in West Africa since 2003. In that time, 565,000 individuals (over 85% women) have formed over 24,000 savings groups, including 4,000 youth savings groups. As such, Plan has become a leader in the youth savings group movement. Globally, more than a million members participate in Plan-facilitated savings groups across 27 countries. Participation in the savings groups often results in a return on investment of over 25 percent, which greatly outweighs the typical three percent interest rate among banks in the United States.

Expanding beyond the typical savings group model, WYSE uses savings groups as platforms for learning and skill building. By participating in enhancement activities to develop skillsets such as literacy or leadership skills, enterprise development, and entrepreneurship, members will strengthen their financial management and maximize investment of savings and dividends.

Many SG members participate in the Enterprise Your Life program, co-developed by Plan and Making Cents International, to bring self-employment opportunities to marginalized youth and women. The short, targeted training sessions incorporate visual aids and learning activities and are conducted at the end of regularly scheduled SG meetings. As the modules are supplemented by on-going coaching, participants develop the entrepreneurial mindset necessary for business success. The 12-week experiential curriculum teaches SG members how to start and succeed in small businesses.

With increased savings and improved income from micro businesses, women can provide their families with greater access to health care services and educational opportunities. Youth members will gain exposure to this simple and low risk financial system, inculcate a savings habit, develop their money management skills, and have the opportunity to invest in small economic activities.

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