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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

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Scaling Savings: Conditional Cash Transfers & Savings Groups

by on Feb 18, 2015  |  posted in Financial Inclusion, Microfinance, Savings  |  2 Comments

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Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) are a powerful tool of governments (often in partnership with NGOs) to reduce poverty for millions. CCTs have reached as many as 33 million people at the bottom of the pyramid in Latin America. In the Dominican Republic, Fundación Capital is piloting a program, which combines savings groups (SGs), CCTs, and linkages to community-based banks for as many as 10,000 Dominican families. In the first webinar of the webinar series "The Power of Savings Groups," we learned about an innovative, rapid SG training model and explore the potential for scaling up SG/CCT as part of the global effort to reach 50 million SG members by 2020.


This webinar is hosted by SEEP's Savings-Led Working Group, as a part of its "The Power of Savings Groups" webinar series. Find more information on SG2015 here, then sign up here to be notified when additional information is released about SG2015.


Jong-Hyon Shin - Project Coordinator, Fundación Capital Dominican Republic 

Jong-Hyon Shin coordinates Proyecto Capital, Fundación Capital´s major financial inclusion project in the Dominican Republic (DR). In partnership with PROSOLI, DR´s Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) Program and several banks, she is coordinating a pilot project ¨savings groups-led financial inclusion¨ in which she trains PROSOLI staff to work as savings group facilitators and subsequently to link the groups with the banks. Out of this initiative, 123 savings groups with 2,300 members and 46 bank accounts were created in just 3 months.

Jong believes that savings group is a fascinating tool for genuine financial inclusion, and partnering with government-run CCTs with over 33 million in Latin America alone, savings groups will have a good chance to be scaled up and also help achieve a true financial inclusion at a large scale. Previously, she and her facilitators formed over 130 savings groups with 3,000 members in DR, and managed to link them with banks by creating 394 individual and group bank accounts in a 3 month pilot.

Jong has been working in the international development for over 18 years with KOICA (Korea Intl. Cooperation Agency), UNDP, and IDB. She has M.Sc. in Tropical Agroforestry with CATIE, Costa Rica and M.A. in Sustainable International Development with Brandeis University in Boston as well as BA in English Literature in Sogang University, Seoul, Korea. Her Masters Paper with Brandeis was on simple and cost-effective way of building savings groups for the scale.

Jeffrey AsheFellow, Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Jeffrey Ashe has been a frequent presenter for the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program and has worked closely with Carsey to produce the Arusha Savings Groups Summit, the first global gathering of Savings Groups practitioners in 2011. Jeff designed and, through March 2013, led Saving for Change at Oxfam America, which has grown to 600,000 savings group members in Mali, Senegal, Cambodia, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Saving for Change is designed based on research he carried out in Nepal, India, and Zimbabwe. Jeff previously founded and led Working Capital, which was for several years the largest microfinance institution in the United States, and he has consulted to microfinance projects in more than thirty countries. While at Acción International, he directed the PISCES studies, the first worldwide study of microfinance and, through that study, he introduced group lending to Acción in 1981--marking the start of the ramp-up of the microfinance movement. As a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1960s, he developed the Campesino Leadership Training program where PCVs and liberation theology priests and nuns helped ensure that those who tilled the land received their just share.

He teaches microfinance at Columbia and Brandeis Universities and is a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University. He has recently completed a book on savings groups entitled “In Their Own Hands: How Savings Groups are Revolutionizing Development” published by Berrett-Koehler. Jeff earned a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in sociology from Boston University.


William MaddocksDirector of Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program (SMDP), Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire


Magdi Ahmed says:
Feb 02, 2015

This conference will be very useful for the saving groups with their different names.
knowledge exchange will be the first benefit as well as networking with line colleagues of other organizations and concerned people.
In Sudan, we use to say ‘Village Saving and Loans Associations-VSLAs’ since this program is popular in and relevance to the village development interventions. However, Sudan experience in Saving Groups is amazing, successful, unique and non-such. Same as my interest to know about and learn from other countries’ experience, I will be very happy tell every colleague about what we are now doing in Sudan. Thanks

[…] You can learn about this exciting pilot program by watching Jong Hyon Shin, Fundación Capital’s country project coordinator for the Dominican Republic, and her former professor (and Carsey Fellow) Jeffrey Ashe. (Watch the SEEP Network’s Taking Savings Groups on the Road Webinar Series.) […]

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