Each day groups of women in low income neighbourhoods and informal settlements walk from home to home, and gather small change from each other in order to collectively address the livelihood struggles they share. Through daily saving interactions, and weekly savings group gatherings, members begin to articulate what problems exist within their families and community, creating a sense of shared identity for the women of urban poor communities.
Whilst men are not excluded, the reality is that the savings groups are comprised mainly of women. Women are often at the center of the household – responsible for the provision of food, school fees, clean water, and a place to sleep. When the poorest women in a settlement come together, one can be sure that the settlement’s most vital priorities are identified. By prioritising the leadership potential of women, traditional male domination in communities is altered, in ways that actually strengthens grassroots leadership.
Central participation of women
By recognising that women are often the engines of development, FEDUP uses the savings and credit methodology to develop their own leadership capacity, financial management skills, and confidence.
By entrusting women to handle such important monetary systems, whereby they are in charge of the precious savings of their neighbours and friends, communities begin to understand the potential of women as public decision-makers and powerful agents of change. In fact, savings and credit activities, apart from their clear financial benefits, serve as a means to bring women out of the home and into the public sphere.