Global MEAL wiki
Global MEAL framework
Thematic MEAL frameworks
MEAL tools & Guidance
Global data: our reach and impact
|INDICATOR 16: # and % of women who are active users of financial services (disaggregated by informal and formal services)|
Why this indicator? What will it measure and provide information for?
This indicator captures impact/outcome data from programs/projects that aim to ensure women’s equal access to and use of financial services.
Access to financial services breaks down into two categories:
1) Access to Informal Financial Services, such as VSLA or similar savings groups
2) Access to Formal financial services, where participants have either graduated from informal to formal financial services (e.g. from a VSLA to an account in a bank) or have achieved equal access to and use of formal financial services directly.
As we know, access to financial services (whether informal or formal) can give women a better opportunity to invest in a business or other income generating activity (IGA). At the same time, access to financial services helps women to deal with fluctuating incomes and provides a safety net during difficult periods. When formal financial services are used it creates greater security by avoiding large amounts of cash being kept in an individual or group member’s home. It also allows users the potential to access greater sums and more sophisticated products from the formal financial sector, according to their evolving needs as they progress in their economic empowerment journey.
This guidance note covers how to measure, record and reflect upon both informal and formal financial services and provides with references on how to report data from this indicator into CARE’s Project/Program Information and Impact Reporting System (PIIRS).
What Sustainable Development Goal is the indicator connected to?
This indicator is linked to:
* SDG 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, because women and girls using financial services supports a more equal role in society for them. Use of financial services is a key component in achieving higher levels of economic empowerment for women and girls. However, it does not alone automatically lead to economic empowerment.
* SDG 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, although SDG Indicator 8.10.2 only measures formal financial inclusion.
|Definitions and key terms
Women: This indicator has a focus on women, therefore, disaggregation of data is critical. Data on women can be further disaggregated to identify adult women and women youth, using classifications/definitions that make sense in the country context. Data on men and boys is also important for further analysis and comparisons around access to financial services, therefore, it is important to record this type of data as well.
Active user of informal financial services: A member of a VSLA or similar savings group. Note that sometimes it can be challenging to track/measure the attendance of members as a means of establishing active use of financial services in VSLAS or savings groups. Data on membership in VSLAs or savings groups can be used as a proxy measure.
Active user of formal financial services: Active use is typically defined as having accessed (made a withdrawal or deposit) on the account in the last six months. If you use a different definition of active, please make sure to document it and explain it at the time of reporting.
Financial services: Financial services are economic activities and services provided by the finance industry and include business, credit union, banking service, insurance, accountancy, stocks and investments – particularly including mobile money services. The services include savings or deposit services, payment and transfer services, credit and insurance. The relevant financial services will be context specific. Only financial services that are considered beneficial to women should be included.
Formal financial services: Formal financial services are economic services provided by financial institutions regulated and supervised by government, and also include semi-formal financial services that are not regulated by banking authorities but are usually licensed and supervised by other government agencies.
Informal financial services: Informal financial services are those that are provided outside the structure of government regulation and supervision.
|Data and information required to calculate the indicator
For informal financial services, the following applies:
* Numerator: number of women (youth and adults if you have further disaggregated) that you have identified are users of informal financial services
* Denominator: total women (youth and adults, if you have further disaggregated) surveyed to ask them if they were users of informal financial services or not.
For formal financial services, the following applies:
* Numerator: number of women (youth and adults if you have further disaggregated) that you have identified are users of formal financial services
* Denominator: total women (youth and adults, if you have further disaggregated) surveyed to ask them if they were users of formal financial services or not.
You will need to include:
# individual women users of formal financial services; and
# the women members of those groups that from the date of their formation connect to a formal financial service provider
# the women members of those groups that may have started out as informal groups but which have linked to a formal financial service provider
|Suggested method for data collection
For informal financial services:
* For VSLAs, the information on women who are users of these informal financial serivces should be reported regularly in the global savings group information exchange, SAVIX - http://www.thesavix.org/
For formal financial services:
* For VSLAs that have connected to the formal financial sector by opening their own group account of some kind, the information on women who are users of these formal financial services can also be regularly reported in SAVIX. For those that chose not to use the MIS, SAVIX still provides a useful guide to the type of questions to ask.
* For cases where participants access formal financial services directly (not via a VSLA), the information on women who are users of these formal financial services should come from MIS or any components of the project’s MEL system.
Note for both informal and formal financial services:
* New projects need to ensure a baseline: Oftentimes, this may take the form of a survey of some kind. Survey questions should align with information required for SAVIX, but you can ask for additional information if needed. Survey among a representative sample of the impact group.
* In case it’s unclear which financial services are to be included, this should be discussed with representatives of the impact group. It is important that financial services considered negative or exploitative are excluded. However, in case you find these, please report to WEE MEL Advisor.
* Qualitative methods like focus group discussions and key informants interviews should supplement the quantitative data collection (whether at baseline or follow up studies), to provide a better understanding of barriers and potential negative consequences of inclusion in financial services.
|Suggested tool for data collection (applicable to both formal and informal financial services)
* The information is collected through annual surveys by CARE and partners.
* Baseline and end line survey questionnaire: align questions with what is required for reporting on SAVIX and add questions as needed.
|Possible data sources
If you chose to use SAVIX then it will be reported by projects/ local partner organizations on a quarterly basis. If you chose not to use SAVIX then it is up to the monitoring system you chose to use. For new projects and formal financial services, remember that baseline survey data will need to be collected.
Resources needed for data collection
The quantitative and qualitative data collection will have to be conducted by CARE and partners. It needs to be included in the monitoring and evaluation plan and budgeted for.
Understanding the results for this indicator: number of people for which the change happened
To interrogate the number of people who have access to financial services, you can ask the following questions:
For informal financial services:
* How many women / youth (if you have chosen to further disaggregate) were members of a VSLA or similar savings group in the last reporting period?
For formal financial services:
* How many women / youth (if you have chosen to further disaggregate) were active users of formal financial services in the last reporting period? Good practice suggests your monitoring information has asked this question of project participants within a year or less of the reporting date, to ensure the data is fairly current.
Reporting this indicator in PIIRS (Project Program Information and Impact Reporting System)
For informal financial services:Figures need to be recorded in the REACH form (VSLA section).
For formal financial services: Figures need to be recorded in the IMPACT/OUTCOMES form (Indicator 16 section).
The central PIIRS team will ensure the two sets of information are combined to show the composite picture of impact/outcomes around access to financial inclusion
|Questions for guiding the analysis and interpretation of data (explaining the how and why the change happened, and how CARE contributed to the change)
Remember that you will have reported women’s use of informal financial services and the linkage of informal financial group with formal financial providers in the REACH data. However, for understanding the change that you anticipate happening in your project it is useful to take this information on informal financial services and formal financial services and reflect on both. The following questions can be useful prompts for learning purposes. Think about including them when designing your theory of change and your MEL system and plan. You will then have relevant data on which to reflect when the time comes for this.
* What is the trend for numbers per impact group, country? (Have numbers increase / stagnated / decreased)?
* What does the change in women’s and adolescent girls’ use of informal financial services mean for the sustainability of their economic activity?
* Has the fact that women and girls use financial serves contributed to an increase in their economic power and or economic empowerment? How? What is the connection between financial inclusion and other WEE outcomes?
* What does the change in women’s and adolescent girls’ use in formal financial services mean for women’s ability to sustainably and competitively manage their business, job or other income generating activity? In cases of increase in formal linkages, has this increase led to women being more competitive? And, their businesses being more sustainable?
* What contributed to the change? What did women, men or financial service providers do differently.
* What was CARE’s contribution?
* How has CARE contributed to the change? What were CARE’s main strategies for contributing to this change (e.g. linking VSLAs to financial services, financial literacy trainings, etc.)?
* Has the overall accessibility (independent of CARE) of informal and formal financial services increased in the same period?
* Which type of financial services has proven most successful in this context? And, which ones have proven least successful - or even caused harm or had negative consequences?
* From the qualitative data: What are barriers for women’s use of financial services? Are there any negative consequences of using financial service? What are the recommendations from women and youth on the utilization of formal and informal financial services?
|Other considerations; other related Global Impact Indicators and supplementary indicators
* Data on women and girls should be compared to data on men and boys’ financial inclusion rates. It will enrich the analysis to show whether CARE is really making an impact on the key inequalities in financial inclusion.
* In case data on repayment rate of loans or information about women who fail to pay on time (past dues) is available, this should be added to the analysis of the data as it sheds light on the appropriateness of the levels of the loans.
* If data about specific enablers or barriers for women’s access to financial services is available, this should be added to the analysis.
This indicator can be complemented by the following:
* Total amount of savings made by impact population (FNS supplementary indicator SE 2).