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Papers/Reports | July 22, 2014

Empowering Women Through Savings Groups

A Study from the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) Program

This gender study explores women’s participation and leadership in savings groups in the context of an integrated five-year USAID-funded Development Food Aid Program (DFAP) called "Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement" (WALA) between 2009 and 2014 in the southern region of Malawi.


  • Executive summary

  • Study design and methods

  • Broader context of gender and household livelihoods

  • Primary data findings: Joining, sourcing money, and accessing group loans from a gender perspective

  • Outcomes: Most significant changes to women's lives, their relationships, and household well-being

  • Challenges and disadvantages to women and men's participation 

  • Most significant activities influencing positive and negative changes and outcomes

  • Internal gender capacity

  • Analysis of results and implications for future programming

  • Conclusion and recommendations for action