Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Investing in girls is paying off BIG in Uganda (thanks to BRAC!)

We're passionate about empowering young women to reach their full potential.

Last year Kiva started offering loans to girls through BRAC Uganda's Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) Program. In addition to credit for older participants to become entrepreneurs, this program includes training in life skills, support groups and clubs, business development training and more. Today, more than 1,000 ELA clubs reach over 40,000 woman.

So we were thrilled to spot a recent post on BRAC's blog about some of the incredible impact results from the ELA program. Full results from a study conducted by independent researchers from the London School of Economics can now be found online, but we had to share at least a few:
12.6% INCREASE in condom use among sexually-active ELA participants.

28.6% DECREASE in fertility rates among two-year participants.

83% DECREASE in participants' reports of having sex unwillingly after one year.
As BRAC so eloquently states, this is a clear marker in how the program is positively influencing girls' relationships to men.

35% INCREASE in likelihood that an adolescent girl in the program would be engaged in an income-generating activity.

This is some pretty remarkable, irrefutable evidence that programs focused on empowering young women make a big difference.

For a more comprehensive summary by World Bank researcher Markus Goldstein, click here. Or read more about BRAC's takeaways from the study here.

Kiva's beyond excited to see results like these from a third-party impact study, and is proud to play even a small role in ELA's success in Uganda.

A quick, related story from our neck of the woods, as reported by Kiva Fellow Julie Kriegshaber:

Julie met Shamim, a shy 16-year old in the ELA program (pictured above), during her fellowship in 2012. Having forgotten some of the necessary documentation for her loan, Shamim had to return home and had Julie to tag along. It turned out she was living in an informal orphanage run by a local pastor.

In addition to running a small clothing sales business, she was responsible for her two younger siblings and watching over a few of the other children at the orphanage. By the time Julie left, she was in complete awe of how much Shamim had to juggle on a daily basis on top of running a growing business -- and of everything BRAC Uganda was doing to help thousands of girls just like her.

Have questions about Kiva's partnership with BRAC Uganda? Send them our way at