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Reducing Barriers to Women's Economic Empowerment in El Salvador and Honduras

The WAGE RBI initiative was implemented by Grameen Foundation and the American Bar Association (ABA ROLI) from 2018-2023.


Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in El Salvador and Honduras (RBI) was WAGE’s first strategic initiative focusing on women's economic empowerment (WEE). Together with Kiva, an online loan platform that connects lenders to indigent entrepreneurs across the globe to alleviate poverty, WAGE provided financial support to women entrepreneurs and works with local microfinance institutions (MFIs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) to reduce legal and policy barriers that women face in starting and growing sustainable businesses. ​The RBI initiative was led by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the Grameen Foundation.

Phase I (2018 – 2020): In Phase I of the initiative, WAGE created a loan matching fund, which has revolved over the course of three years to match loans posted on Kiva’s platform and financed by individual lenders. The fund enabled Kiva’s Salvadoran and Honduran MFI partners to provide financing more effectively to women entrepreneurs for their micro and small business activities. WAGE also conducted an assessment of opportunities and challenges that Honduran and El Salvadoran women entrepreneurs face when launching and growing sustainable businesses. 

The assessment findings are presented in two comprehensive reports:

Phase II (2020 – 2023): Recognizing that credit alone is not sufficient to meet the multifaceted needs of women entrepreneurs, Phase II of the initiative included a series of technical assistance (TA) interventions, informed by the two in-country assessments conducted in Phase I. In response to the need for business and planning skills for women entrepreneurs, WAGE designed the Resilient Life Resilient Business (RLRB) Education Module which increases women entrepreneurs’ business skills for long-term growth and planning for personal safety and business risks. The training was delivered over the course of Phase II of the initiative. WAGE held multi-stakeholder dialogues with MFIs and other key stakeholders to discuss key findings and recommendations from the in-country assessments and identify ways that the stakeholders can implement the recommendations, both individually and collectively. Throughout Phase II, WAGE has expanded its TA to MFIs by providing them Social Performance Management (SPM) support and Gender and Power Dynamics trainings. These trainings have enabled WAGE local partner MFI staff to explore their individual gender biases and reflect on how these biases impact women and shape power and conflict dynamics in the home and workplace. TA in the area of SPM is building the capacity of MFI partners to design gender-responsive products and collaborate with other stakeholders to offer more integrated services to female clients. To provide those integrated services, WAGE has facilitated linkages between the MFIs and the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) network of community services and resources for women.

Page Highlights Lead Implementors

- 10,578 women entrepreneurs ​supported 

- $5,402,700 in matching funds deployed 

- American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)

- Grameen Foundation