FWWB was promoted in 1981, as an affiliate of Women’s World Banking, a global network created to focus on the need for women’s direct access to financial services and recognizing women’s role in building a nation’s economy. Our aim has been to promote direct participation of poor women in the economy through access to financial services. FWWB was created to extend and expand informal credit supports and networks within India to link them to a global movement. We have always strived to assist in the formation and strengthening of people’s organisations by bringing them into the mainstream of the economy and thereby participating in the process of nation building. Our strategy focuses on building the capacity of promising and committed people’s institutions to play a leading role in providing financial services to the poor.
FWWB combines its loans with technical assistance to ensure sustainable growth. From 1989 to 2010, we reached out to more than 300 Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) with technical assistance and nearly 200 with loan support. We have successfully implemented programs with support from SIDBI, FORD Foundation, Citi Foundation, HIVOS, CORDAID, USAID, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and others. We have also accessed loan support from over 10 banks and financial institutions.
Initially started as a capacity building institution, FWWB had decided to provide loan support to different type of institutions (SHGs, Federations, Cooperatives, NGOs and startup NBFCs) that are in the space of financial inclusion. Lukewarm response from the banking sector to support these institutions was the reason for building the revolving loan fund and taking the risk as a first lender. Support from bilateral, international as well as local institutions enabled us to scale up and support more than 300 institutions across the country in areas of livelihood promotion, water and sanitation, education and women empowerment.
FWWB was instrumental in organizing various policy forums focusing on financial services for the poor and played a very active role in policy advocacy. FWWB, being a member of various networks, has played a significant role in the evolution of the sector.
Cumulatively, we have reached out to more than 1 million women across India through our various interventions in agriculture finance, water and sanitation, solar energy programs, and financial education and women entrepreneurship.