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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems


Beyond Savings Groups Can Income Smoothing Increase School Attendance and Educational Quality?

Oct 5, 2016 (Wed), 10:00am-11:00am (EST)

Course Description

Guest Presenters:
Stuart Cameron, Oxford Policy Management 
Karen Moore, Program Manager, Youth Livelihoods  

Despite the introduction of free primary education in many developing countries, households continue to face direct and indirect costs of education. Particularly at higher levels of school and for communities still dependent on subsistence farming, these are a barrier to learning. Could access to better, village-level facilities for saving and borrowing money help lower these financial barriers?
Plan International UK commissioned a report to better understand how, and to what extent, savings groups can help break down the financial barriers to education.  An extensive review of research and evaluations of savings groups facilitated by Plan and others around the world was undertaken, as well as qualitative research in two communities in rural Ghana. The research suggests that while savings groups don't necessarily allow for increased household education spending or increased enrollment rates in the short term, probably their greatest potential comes from the income smoothing effect: participants are able to pay formal and informal education fees in a more timely manner, thus reducing absenteeism.

Stuart Cameron, the primary researcher from Oxford Policy Management, and Karen Moore, formerly of Plan International UK, will discuss these findings in more detail and suggest other avenues of research that may illuminate further the relationship between savings groups and education.


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