USAID-funded DRR Project Strengthens Community Resilience by Empowering Women

We recognize gender inequality as both a cause and effect of hunger. Until now, there are communities where women have less access and control over resources while also having limited participation or representation in decision-making, therefore putting them at risk.

This is why one key strategy of our USAID-funded Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Project in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is empowering these women to strengthen their barangay’s resilience through community savings groups (CSG). The main goal of CSGs is to encourage and create a saving culture in the community while offering a unique financial opportunity for participating households.

Photo by Michael Ryan Queman for Action Against Hunger

Last month, 30 women from Barangay Gawang of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao participated in the Community Savings Group Orientation held by Action Against Hunger on June 16, 2021.  Because CSGs provide a level of financial security even without any access to formal banking services, all women gave their commitment to creating a savings group for the barangay. Once established, the collective savings can offer a safety net for the members’ households in times of disasters and other emergency situations.

A community savings group (CSG) is a community-based program where a group of vulnerable and at-risk persons in a community agrees to save a certain amount periodically and depositing the savings in a group account. Savings groups are a way for people without access to formal banking services to access some financial security. Savings groups are owned, managed, and operated by the members, using a simple, transparent method where groups accumulate and convert small amounts of cash into savings that can be used in times of crisis. This way, economic security is increased and financial services are brought closer to communities for promoting secure investment with savings.

The group can further decide to focus on savings or invest in personal or collective livelihood activities to improve household income. In most cases, the group also engages in giving loans. Moreover, not only does the CSG provide potentially better financial opportunities for families but also empowers the participants—in this case, the women of Barangay Gawang—as they engage in financial planning, decision-making, and active community involvement.

Photo by Michael Ryan Queman for Action Against Hunger

‘Strengthening Local Resilience and Building Capacities in Areas at High Risk of Natural Hazards in BARMM, Mindanao’ is a disaster risk reduction (DRR) project funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) and implemented by Action Against Hunger Philippines with the support of local government units and partner stakeholders.

Read more: Our Approach to Gender Equality

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