Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
An Industry Consultation on Program Quality Guidelines for Savings Groups
CRS Zambia Program Offices Plot 377/43C/2C Ibex Hill Road
Ibex Hill, Lusaka, Zambia
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As the benefits of Savings Groups (SGs) become increasingly apparent, new and diverse organizations are entering the field and adopting the SG methodology with varying degrees of rigor, and a variety of goals and approaches. At the same time, organizations that have traditionally facilitated SGs are innovating with new, untested approaches and technologies whose the long-term impacts are still unknown.
To ensure that SG members are not harmed by this unprecedented growth and innovation within the sector, stakeholders within the SG community have come together to define minimum standards for a common approach to quality programming. The Program Quality Guidelines (PQGs), developed by The SEEP Network's Savings-Led Financial Services Working Group (SLWG), represent an industry wide effort that is anchored in the belief that facilitating agencies have a responsibility to implement quality SGs and to guarantee that their interventions are in no way putting members or their assets at risk, these Further growth and success of the sector rests on the ability of the facilitating agencies to balance scale and quality while safeguarding the wellbeing of their clients.
The Guidelines have been developed by the SLWG, comprised of practitioners representing over 70 organizations. Over 100 practitioners and industry stakeholders participated in written surveys and interviews, which informed the content of the PQGs, helping to understand programming priorities and concerns emerging in the field. Between August 2014 and May 2015, the PQGs went through a number of drafts that were posted online for open commenting. They were also vetted at each phase with an advisory committee whose members were identified for their interest and expertise on the topic. This version of the Guidelines represents a consensus on good practice, based on experience and evidence to date.
In this next phase of consultations that will occur between now and October 2015, we hope to further disseminate these principles and discuss them with a wider audience. We are doing so through in-person country/regional consultations, virtual consultations, as well as collecting input through the PQG portal, to include a wide array of stakeholders including donors, policymakers, and practitioners on the ground. Based on the input through this extensive consultation, the Guidelines will be updated and shared at the next convening of the Savings Groups community: the SG2015 conference in November 2015.
We hope you can join us for this first field-based consultation in Lusaka, Zambia and support the process of refining these Guidelines to ensure that SG programming. A draft of the guidelines will be circulated prior to the event.