Location: New York, USA
Host: World Vision, University of Illinois, Urbana & the Government of Sierra Leone
Venue: Church Center, opposite the UN building on the 2nd floor
Time: July 10, 1:15 to 2:45 PM
The 7th UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2019) will take place under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from Tuesday, July 9th to Thursday, July 18th, 2019 in New York, New York. Each year, member countries meet to update their progress on achieving the post-2030 Agenda. This year, Sierra Leone and Ghana will be two of the member states providing an update on their progress achieving the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
July 1st, 2016 marked the beginning of the SDG 2030 Agenda where national governments committed to ‘leave no-one behind’ (LNB). LNB means that the poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable populations are ensured to fulfill their potential. To ‘leave no-one behind’ would entail – as it has been affirmed – that ‘no target is met unless met for all social groups,’ including women. Women's Economic Empowerment is essential to achieving many of the SDGs. Achieving cross-cutting SDGs through integrated livelihoods programming can be a daunting task and requires private, public, and civil-society partnerships.
This side-event will focus on sharing the best practices from Sierra Leone and Ghana, contributing to all SDGs currently under review. The session will seek to demonstrate how Women's Economic Empowerment and financial inclusion can contribute to the following interrelated SDGs under review:
This event will be an open event, targeted at member states and representatives of the UN system, civil society, financial institutions, regional influencing bodies, parliamentarians and donors that work in multi-sectoral ways to promote Women’s Economic Empowerment to achieve the post-2030 Agenda.
Child Well-Being & Child Protection
The Women Empowered for Leadership and Development (WELD) Project in Sierra Leone facilitated the formation of 361 Savings for Transformation Groups (S4TGs). Total membership of these S4TGs is currently 9,620 members- 8,323 of which are female. These groups have saved the equivalent of almost $411,000 and have disbursed approximately $252,000 as loans to 7,472 members in just the 2018 cycle. Through the SG intervention, women in the WELD communities owned and operated crops and fish farms and participated in value-added activities to increase their income levels, improving their agency and confidence (WELD KAP Report, 2018).
In Ghana, the cocoa value chain project evaluation demonstrated that there were many benefits for children when savings groups were integrated into this market systems approach. As part of the Mondelez International Cocoa Life program in Ghana, World Vision Ghana and ABANTU have implemented local value chain development, and- with support from UNDP- integrated natural resource management programs for women for the past six (6) years in over 134 communities. The program resulted in a 12% reduction in women and girls; unpaid care work; over 50% commitment to the promotion of gender equality by male leaders, resulting in increased women’s participation in decision making. Finally, monitoring and evaluation reports by external evaluators have shown that additional livelihoods such as the introduction of savings for transformation groups (S4T) increased women’s income by well over 100%, increasing education for girls, a reduction in teenage pregnancies, and a reduction in child labor.
Savings Groups & Financial inclusion
As Savings Groups’ members continue to save, the risk of saving in metal boxes also increases. Theft of SG cash boxes was reported in almost all the districts covered by the WELD project. In April 2018, World Vision engaged key mobile network operators (MNOs), such as Orange Money, on options for digitalizing the SG cash box through a mobile platform. This model sought to:
The Power of Savings Groups: Unintended Benefits
World Vision, with support from USAID and in collaboration with the government of Sierra Leone, has been implementing the Women Empowered for Leadership and Development (WELD) from 2014-2017 using an economic empowerment approach. The WELD Project was a three-year project funded by USAID to increase women’s social, political and economic rights in seven districts in Sierra Leone. By delivering gender-sensitive programs and strengthening civil society to advocate for gender policy at both the local and national level, savings groups have served as an important pathway to increase women political participation, the welfare of children, and invest in the future.