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Enhancing the potential of e-savings to boost women’s investment and household outcomes in Tanzania

Efforts at closing gender gaps in financial inclusion focus on developing financial products and services specifically targeting women, but broader social and cultural constraints that prevent women from using these products and services are rarely taken into account. One such constraint is the household decision-making and bargaining process, which can lead to women’s low uptake of products and services or a limited impact on women's economic empowerment and labour market decisions. This project will shed light on how the household bargaining process works, and what it means for household and individual savings and for women's economic decisions in Tanzania.

The project seeks to promote the transformative potential of financial innovations by addressing two important factors: how financial inclusion can help women entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers improve their livelihoods and economic outcomes; and whether financial inclusion is transformative by itself or needs to be coupled with other interventions to have a demonstrable positive impact on the livelihoods of the people it targets.

Through a randomized control trial involving 3,200 women and their spouses, the project will assess how intra-household bargaining shapes women's use of e-saving accounts as well as investment decisions. The research will test whether private or household based e-savings accounts best increase women's financial inclusion and labour market and economic choices, and if improving household dynamics can further enhance development outcomes for women.

The work will be carried out by Innovations for Poverty Action, a non-profit research organization with a mandate to find effective solutions to global poverty problems. The project will engage and leverage partnerships with private sector actors, specifically mobile network operators, to promote the scaling of one or more interventions found to yield significant impact on female entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers within Tanzania and beyond.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Martha Melesse
Total Funding
CA$ 867,113.00
Sustainable Inclusive Economies
Employment and Growth
Agriculture and Food Security
Innovations for Poverty Action
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Rachel Steinacher
Innovations for Poverty Action, a non-profit corporation
Institution Country
United States
Innovations for Poverty Action, a non-profit corporation