Enterprising Women


There is beauty in simplicity, but are there outcomes? The individual development account (IDA) is a straightforward way to get poor people to experience the trials and benefits of saving. That's fine, as far as it goes. The idea behind Vancouver's Enterprising Women Asset Development project is to reinforce an IDA program with a more comprehensive and self-directed understanding of assets, so women learn to build a sustainable livelihood.

"Enterprising Women Asset Development (EWAD) is a demonstration project geared to help low-income women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside identify their assets and build on them to create a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families. EWAD's centerpiece is an individual development account (IDA), a savings-matching tool that has captured the interest of a wide range of community members and interest groups....

"Less certain is how effective this traditional application of the IDA is to marginalized women. Recent research into women's experience of poverty points out a number of types of asset that women require in order to provide adequately for themselves and their families. Is the IDA amenable to a more holistic approach to asset building -one that recognizes the complexities of a woman’s life? Could an IDA be structured in that way while remaining practical, that is, manageable and acceptable to program staff, participants, and funders? That is what the EWAD project set out to discover."

Asset development for women in the Downtown Eastside
Buffel, Melanie
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