Financial inclusion is where individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs and are delivered in a sustainable way. Financial inclusion for women is a key enabler in reducing poverty and boosting prosperity. Here at Cufa, we focus on the most disadvantaged rural communities where we find women need the most assistance and thus, many of our programs focus on providing them financial products, training and education, forming the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
What is financial Inclusion and how does it help women?
Obtaining access to a bank account is the first step towards financial inclusion. This access facilitates day-to-day living and helps both families and businesses plan for the future. As an account holder, people are more likely to begin using other services like loans and insurance, expanding their earning potential by investing in business, education and risk management. Great strides have been made worldwide with 1.2 billion people gaining a bank account since 2011 and now 69% of adults have a bank account. However, there are still over 1 billion women that are unbanked.
Why is it important to empower women with financial inclusion?
Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. Women make vast contributions to economies whether it is in business, agriculture, as entrepreneurs or in unpaid work such as care at home. Basically, when more women work, economies grow. It is estimated that gender gaps can cost an economy over 15% of GDP.
How does Cufa provide women with financial inclusion?
Many of Cufa’s programs focus on empowering women. The Female Financial Empowerment program in Myanmar has a sole focus on providing financial inclusion for women through support, financial services and business skills. Members gain access to a savings account and microfinance and are taught financial literacy and a variety of business skills alongside a leadership skills workshop.
Released this month, former World Vision Australia CEO and current Chief Advocate Tim Costello joins the Cufa podcast series Conversations in Development as a special guest. So far the podcast has looked at a range of diverse issues from the international development field varying from child labour to sport for development.
The episode, Faith and Aid, was released on Monday 21 January with Tim appearing alongside Cufa’s CEO and podcast host, Dr Peter Mason and audio journalist Olivia Rosenmann.
The values of giving are deeply rooted in the texts, traditions and practices of many faiths, and many of the world’s biggest aid organisations are faith-based. In this episode, the podcast explores how faith-based aid differs from secular aid, and how much those differences matter. Australia is becoming more and more secular, but the majority of the country’s biggest charities are faith-based. The podcast asks what happens when faith conflicts with what is best for poor or developing communities and it considers if faith-based aid takes the pressure off the governments in developed countries to contribute to ODA.
Tim Costello is Chief Advocate at World Vision Australia and is one of Australia’s most sought-after voices on social justice issues, leadership and ethics. He has spearheaded public debates on gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse. He has been instrumental in ensuring that the issues surrounding global poverty are on the national agenda. Tim was ordained as a Baptist Minister in 1984 and he established a vibrant and socially active ministry at St Kilda Baptist Church. He has served as Mayor of St Kilda, Minister at the Collins Street Baptist Church and as Executive Director of Urban Seed, a Christian not-for-profit outreach service for the urban poor.
Get up to date with the podcast by listening to this, or previous episodes. Simply search “Conversations in Development” into Apple Podcasts or your favourite streaming service. Episode 9, Faith and Aid streaming from Monday 21 January 2019.
Do you want to make a difference for someone less fortunate these holidays? Find out why you should donate to Cufa today!
At Cufa, our programs focus on providing sustainable change within communities, a hand up, not a handout. We supply the most disadvantaged people the tools to break the poverty cycle.
Cufa’s work focuses on alleviating poverty through economic empowerment. We teach young people the importance of saving, empower women to gain financial access, provide employment services, help finance and train rural entrepreneurs and much more!
We have reached over 4 million people each year through our programs and our results show the impact that we have had on developing communities.
For each $1 of donor funds we create $12.33 of social value and over a 1.75 year period Cufa created over $30 million of social value in the form of jobs, businesses, community-owned banks and much more.
Some of our programs have performed exceptionally with some of these examples including:
Village Entrepreneur - $28 of social value for each $1 invested
Bougainville Youth Project – $13,530,299 social value created
SRIRI Project – 707 people employed
Credit Union Development Cambodia - 21 credit unions formed
Credit Union Development Timor-Leste - $266,456 total community savings
Our success stories
We have seen countless unique stories about the way in which Cufa has had a life-changing impact on people’s lives. All of these stories are special and portray the importance of different aspects of our work.
Make a life-changing contribution these holidays and give someone less fortunate a much needed helping hand!
This month, ABC journalist and member of the ABC International Development team Aaron Kearney appeared as a guest on Cufa’s podcast series, Conversations in Development. The series delves into issues surrounding foreign aid and social change, exploring diverse themes in the international development field including voluntourism, child labour and microfinance.
The episode, Kicking goals in the Pacific, was released on Monday 17 December with Aaron appearing alongside Cufa’s CEO and podcast host, Dr Peter Mason and a sports enthusiast from the Cufa team Sam Priebee.
‘Sport and development’ refers to the use of sport as a tool for development and peace. It is now being increasingly used throughout the Pacific as a method to drive outcomes in areas such as health, social cohesion, gender equality and disability inclusion
Aaron Kearney is a multi-award winning broadcaster, journalist and sports commentator with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. As a member of the ABC’s International Development team, he has led the communications support for the Pacific Sports Partnership, an Australian Aid program that promotes gender equality, disability inclusion and a variety of health benefits. Aaron has also worked as a commentary lead, training and mentoring female journalists across the Pacific in the Women In News and Sport (WINS) initiative.
Within the episode, Aaron outlines some of the firsthand experience he has gained working on projects through the Pacific and describes how they have delivered social change. The episode also delves into communicating sports for development work, gender equality and disability inclusion, and how private sports development programs differ.
Get up to date with this podcast by listening to the previous episodes. Simply search “Conversation in Development” into Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast streaming service. Episode 8, Kicking goals in the Pacific streaming from Monday 17 December 2018.
We are delighted to announce that Andrew Rodgers and Greg Rudd are both joining Cufa’s Board of Directors.
Andrew is currently the Chief Financial officer of an AIM gold producing company. He has previously held roles as a COO and CFO which have given him over 20 years of experience across both public, private and not-for-profit industries.
His previous positions have provided experience in a variety of fields from health and education to mining and gas. Some of Andrew’s successes as part of a board include promoting diversity, cultural awareness and providing practical and commercial insights and advice.
Greg is joining Cufa’s board as the current Chief Executive Officer of Australia’s largest cybersecurity membership organisation. He has experience as an accounts clerk, railway shunter, teacher, lecturer, CEO of a professional theatre and ballet company, and Chief-of-Staff to a federal minister.
He has also run his own consultancy companies in Australia, Beijing and across the Asia-Pacific. Greg writes and is interested in how to improve the operation model of parliamentary democracy.
We look forward to the invaluable insight of Andrew and Greg on our board!
At the beginning of November, Cufa held a small business workshop event in Roka Village, Svay Rieng province, Cambodia. The event hosted participants that included, women and people with disabilities. The participants strengthened their capacity to share knowledge about key successful business methods. It also gave them the opportunity to discuss and learn about each other's personal achievements. Consequently, it has provided local communities with the chance to expand their rural business development knowledge.
The workshop was part of Cufa’s LEED program that focuses on increasing the incomes of rural community members through small business development. It provides education in both areas of business skills development and agricultural activities.
LEED project officer Chanthy Chhoeun hosted the day. He spent a large portion of it working through the main points. These were:
- Identifying the largest challenges of businesses and their solutions
- Discussing the key points that have helped successful businesses to excel
- How to manage a budget for a small business
The day also had a visit from a guest speaker, Mey Moa. Mey started his own business, a grocery store, in 2014 with minimal experience and a small loan. He inspired the crowd with his story and explained how he had recently opened a second business, a beauty salon. Mey was able to change his life and is now a very well respected and successful businessman in his village. Thus, much of his success he says is thanks to working hard, developing his business skills and showing solidarity with his family.
After the event participants left with their knowledge improved in multiple areas of business management and development. It was a very helpful forum to share experiences and ask questions. Moreover, many participants were excited to start putting into practice some of the skills including developing a business plan and budget. There will be many extremely busy businesses in the near future with harvesting season around the corner.
Chanthy said of the event, “It was great they could learn how to start a small business with small capital and develop many skills. It has also been important to discuss how to operate your business together as husband and wife.”