Solutions for Financial Inclusion: Serving Rural Women

March 14, 2011

Using Uganda as a case study, Women’s World Banking set out to better understand the needs of rural women and to use the research and lessons learned there to make recommendations on the design and delivery of microfinance products within Uganda and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. One of the poorest nations in the world, Uganda has the third highest percentage globally of people living in rural areas (88 percent). Serving the rural women’s market in Uganda is not only possible but can be sustainable. There are two types of obstacles to achieving this objective: demand- and supply-side constraints. Despite the importance of agriculture in Uganda and the dominance of women in the sector, there are currently few opportunities for low-income rural women to access financial services. MixMarket data shows that Ugandan microfinance institutions reach less than one percent of the women in Uganda. While there are many challenges in sustainably meeting the needs of rural low-income women through microfinance, overcoming these challenges and ensuring that rural women have access to finance is critical to the development of the sector. To effectively target and serve rural women customers in Uganda, it is important for the microfinance sector to have a deeper understanding of the roles men and women play in both the economy and the rural household. Women’s World Banking believes that this is the first and most important step to developing targeted customer-driven microfinance services.Download the English versionDownload the French version