Table 1

Description of intervention components
Economic Empowerment Program: Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) Gender Dialogue Groups (GDG) Aiming to Change Gender Norms
The VLSAs provide women with a local, safe, and convenient place to save money, access small loans, and a critical safety net in the form of an “emergency fund or social fund”. The VSLA model is simple and practical. A group of 15-30 individuals decide to save money together and contribute to a shared fund weekly. Individual members borrow from this common fund and pay the loan back at a modest interest rate, helping the fund grow over time. The group agrees on a pay-out date (generally 8-12 months after savings begins). At this time, each member receives their accumulated savings plus a percentage return on their savings. Managed appropriately, VSLAs provide affordable credit for borrowers and interest rates for savers that typically exceed those that any formal institution could provide. VSLAs employ participant-driven management which fosters sustainability, and also make this form of savings more feasible in rural regions (including conflict affected settings) lacking other formal finance institutions or where the income level of women would not allow access to financial institutions. Participants and their male partners (or male family member if the participant does not have a male partner) were randomized to receive GDG or wait-listed until after the study was completed. GDGs create an opportunity for bringing together VSLA members and their spouses to reflect on their financial decisions and goals, the value of women in the household, and alternatives to violence. While the overall focus of GDGs is household financial well-being, each session is designed to raise underlying issues that condone IPV and challenge participants to equalize balance of power between themselves and their spouses. These discussions in turn provide an opportunity to promote women’s participation in household decision-making and encourage a shift towards more equitable spousal power relations. This approach was developed by IRC and was first piloted in Burundi in 2009 [27] Groups met every other week and took place between December 2011 and April 2012.

Gupta et al.

Gupta et al. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2013 13:46   doi:10.1186/1472-698X-13-46

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