FINCA Highlights: Supporting Women to Thrive at Work and as Entrepreneurs

BrightLife uses sustainable solar lighting to empower women and girls.

Women have been 1.8 times more likely to experience job loss than men globally during the pandemic. Meanwhile, women’s unpaid work and responsibilities in caring for family members increased dramatically. With generous assistance from donors, FINCA enhanced its support for women throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Here are some recent highlights of FINCA’s work on women’s empowerment:

  • BrightLife, FINCA’s clean energy social enterprise in Uganda, achieved 50/50 gender representation of its leadership team. This is a considerable milestone. It makes FINCA a leader in the sector given that only 32 percent of jobs in renewable energy are held by women.
  • NatureLock, one of our social enterprise partners in Kenya, employs mainly single mothers at its food processing facility. Recently, the company created an onsite daycare. Not only are FINCA donors helping NatureLock reduce food waste, they’re helping NatureLock empower women employees to provide better care for their families.
  • To mark International Women’s Day last year, FINCA DR Congo released a women-only loan product called Just Pour Elle (Just for Her). The interest rate is discounted by 2% and borrowers can qualify for a grace period before repayment. Today, over 1,000 women entrepreneurs are benefiting from this product to grow their businesses.
  • In Haiti, our research found that COVID-19 lockdowns caused severe declines in basic living standards for our clients, nearly 46,000 of whom are female. Of those surveyed, just under half went hungry for a day or more and 60% used savings to buy food. On top of that, the earthquake last August made the need more urgent for FINCA Haiti clients to access capital. Through generous donor support to the FINCA Emergency Response Fund for COVID-19, we met these needs for assistance.

Finally, building on FINCA’s commitment to increasing women’s access to capital, we boosted investments in startups with female founders. FINCA is ahead of the global average of investments in startups with female founders. Globally, only 20 percent of startups raising their first funding round have a female founder. By the end of 2021, 65 percent of the startups that FINCA supports had female founders.

To learn more about how FINCA is empowering women globally, join our virtual event commemorating International Women’s Day on March 8th.