I was torn between writing this up under research or waiting until the ideas phase because it has been a couple of years since I saw this, and I don't want to give the wrong facts, but I think it could be very valuable to the topic of financial empowerment.
A community I visited while I was in Eastern Uganda had started a local "banking" system in their town. It started with a lock box, that had three keys on it. Each of the keys were held by a different elder in the community and all three had to be present to open the box. Members of the community could deposit money into the box and when they needed a loan they would go to the elders and explain what the money was needed for. I don't remember the exact figured they used; they could either get up to three times what they previously put in, or could get up to a third of what was in the lock box at the time.
The person I spoke to about the box said it was really helping people with not only saving money, but understanding the importance of saving money as well. And, since it was a community wide contribution, people felt more financially safe knowing there was somewhere they could go if they needed a little extra help.