HerWallet is a social business enterprise providing microloans to urban poor women. The women call themselves “Widows of the living” because they are married but to absent husbands and thus the economic weight of running their families rests on their shoulders. The women needed to pull themselves out of poverty, but lacked the means to. Discouraged by a rigorous banking system, they turned to individual money lenders for loans. But money lenders charge very exorbitant interest rates, 30% or more. “We also got tired of asking for money from our ‘dead’ husbands, which may earn you a slap,” one woman said. That’s how unbalanced economic power perpetuates domestic violence against women! Women also faced sexual exploitation from the unscrupulous money lenders who demanded sexual favours from the women they advanced loans. This is alarming in country where GBV is at 63% among women with the lowest of economic status. HerWallet is a multipurpose project that is empowering women economically and by giving them financial freedom, help prevent GBV in homes. The women own market stalls, retail shops among other small-scale businesses.
Why women empowerment?
Every day, women demonstrate they can build informal and formal businesses out of very little capital. Yet they face a host of economic challenges majorly limited access to capital. When the obstacle of access to capital is eliminated, women have the freedom to invest in what matters most to themselves and their communities. Investing in girls and women creates the ripple effects that yield multiple benefits, not only for individual women, but for families, communities and countries.