A report, conducted by researchers at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, investigates a matched savings program in Peru targeted at rural women, the Puno-Cusco Corridor Development Project. Corridor aims to develop savings habits and facilitate access to financial institutions for its women participants. The four-year program offers financial education and ongoing support, as well as a 1:1 incentive for the initial deposit and a 25% incentive for additional savings, paid monthly. Matched withdrawals are permitted for participants’ children’s education and healthcare, their own healthcare, and commercial investment.
Between 2003 and 2007, Corridor had 7,406 participants. The research focused on a random sample of 297 women drawn from the first group of women (N=1,300) to complete the program. Interviews suggest that rural women can and do save with sufficient support and incentives. The women saved an average of US $488 over the four-year project, and earned, on average, US $103 in incentives and US $26 in interest. Women ended the program with an average balance of approximately US $241, an amount that represents a significant 6.6% of their homes’ median value. At the end of the program, 57% of women withdrew all of their savings, including incentives, and used the money for children’s health or education (41%), a business (34%), housing expenses or improvements (33%), or as an initial deposit in a fixed-term account (10%). Women’s use of the financial system continued after program end, with 17.5% holding fixed-term savings accounts, and 31% holding loans from a financial institution.
Matched savings in Peru was inspired by CSD’s work on Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).
Click here for the entire report (in Spanish) or to access an Executive Summary (in English & Spanish).