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Case study

Financial services for women. Case study on women's participation in the maize and bean value chains in Rwanda

The purpose of this study was to analyse the position of women in the maize and bean value chains in Rwanda, as well as the current and potential role of financial service providers (FSPs) in strengthening the positioning of women in these chains. The study used the women’s economic empowerment framework for the conceptual analysis, while similarly looking at overall financial inclusion indicators. This was all done within the context of a value chain analysis.

The value chain concept provided a framework for analysis and explained the different functions in the value chains for bean and for maize, including the roles of men and women. The analysis showed how the available financial services not only reached women but also benefited and empowered them.

A desk study, which accompanied the fieldwork and value chain analysis, showed that the enabling environment in Rwanda is very conducive to the promotion of women in agriculture. Government policies support the economic inclusion of women, and clear implementation strategies have been defined. However, women still experience challenges and constraints in terms of access to land and farm inputs, equipment, training, finance and market channels. Strong time constraints also exist due to double burden, as well as limited power in negotiations on decisions between members of their households (known as ‘intra-household bargaining power’). In this case the decisions are on use of resources and income. Furthermore, women still have less access to larger loans for inputs, trading and aggregation.