CARE's Village Savings & Loan Associations

In 1991, CARE harnessed the ancient practice of group saving when it launched the world's first Village Savings and Loan Association in Niger

Measuring Our Impact

Microfinance interventions increase the likelihood that a woman will start a business, and the business will generate better income.

CARE's Pathways Program Empowers Women in Malawi

Watch Anastazia Saka and Vicknes Chimbonga, two women members of the Village Savings and Loan groups in Malawi, share their stories about how participating in savings groups is changing their lives.

Measuring Our Impact

Women microfinance participants increase their influence on decisions about household, food and education decisions.

Expanding Economic Opportunity

The last frontier in the provision of microfinance to the world’s poorest people has been the remote villages and teeming slums of Africa. Traditional banking has not penetrated most of Africa, and microfinance in Africa has only reached a fraction of those who need it. 

But in 1991 in a poor village in southern Niger, CARE discovered a way to harness the ancient practice of group savings and create a sustainable system of home-grown microfinance. In the years since then, we have helped establish more than 150,000 groups in 26 African countries, serving nearly 3.8 million members.


Share the facts about microfinance.

Steal These StatsMore than 2.5 billion people don’t have bank accounts. #stealthesestats w/@CARE
Steal These StatsIn Sub-Saharan #Africa, 76% of adults don’t have bank accounts. #stealthesestats w/@CARE
Steal These Stats1/2 of people in Sub-Saharan #Africa have saved $$ with the help of their community #stealthesestats w/@CARE
Steal These StatsIn #Kenya, CARE has helped 400 savings groups save more than $120,000. #stealthesestats w/@CARE

CARE Calls for Solution to Financial Exclusion

Microfinance Movement Tackles Poverty, Empowers Women

Learn about our work helping the poor access markets

Read This!

Donate Now

$25 can provide a village savings and loan group with a lock box, ledger and other start-up supplies to help them save and manage loans.

Learn More

Find out how we’re connecting the world’s poorest people to the global economy.

GRAD Program Success Stories

This USAID-funded GRAD Program run by CARE Ethiopia shows that giving someone power is the best way to break the cycle of poverty.

Take Action

Tell Congress to help expand economic opportunities for women around the world.

Where We Work