The purpose of integrating a gender-transformative perspective into savings and internal lending communities (SILC) is to engage men in SILC group participation and support, and to improve gender relations and decision-making processes for enhanced group performance and financial investments. Savings-group programs have historically targeted women, as there is a long-standing assumption that improving women’s access to finance will lead to increases in women’s empowerment. Existing evidence, however, shows women’s membership in savings (or other types of microfinance) groups does not necessarily translate to women’s control over funds, greater investments in production, or increased involvement in income-generating activities with corresponding decreases in unpaid domestic work. To address this concern, a gender-transformative approach (GTA) has been developed to work together with the SILC methodology to challenge harmful social norms and power relations. This Savings and Internal Lending Communities Plus Gender-Transformative Approach (SILC+GTA) works to create pathways through which members can freely invest their time and money in economically productive (agricultural-based) activities, thus leading to better, longer-lasting, and more equitable development outcomes for poor women and men. This manual is intended for community facilitators who are well trained in gender equality issues and who coordinate savings and internal lending communities in the Barotse Floodplain of western Zambia. This manual contains 12 activity-based sessions designed for use with partnered and un-partnered men and women in the Barotse Floodplain. Specific topics addressed in this manual include gender and power dynamics, caregiving and shared household decision-making, and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention.
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