Oikocredit promotes global justice by empowering disadvantaged people with credit. And because women comprise the majority of the world’s poor, Oikocredit places a special emphasis on reaching them.
Among the organizations in which Oikocredit invests, microfinance institutions have demonstrated a unique ability to reach women and to provide the kinds of services they need most: small loans, accompanied by support to help grow their businesses, keep their families healthy, and encourage education for their children.
Of the 100 million poorest clients of microfinance programs, over 80 percent are women. And women have proven to be the most reliable credit risk for microfinance lenders.
The multiplier effect
Providing credit to women has a multiplier effect on society. Women who are able to generate their own income not only can support their families but also enhance their communities—providing housing, sanitary facilities, health and food services.
When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man. (Source: “Women’s Rights Vital for Developing World,” The Girl Effect.)
An example of this multiplier effect in one community is Cocovico in Côte d’Ivoire. Cocovico is a cooperative of 200 women food crop vendors.
In 2008, Cocovico built and opened a new marketplace that expanded the cooperative's reach and multiplied its benefits significantly. The marketplace includes a health center and access to food for almost 10,000 nearby families while attracting 5,000 traders.