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MasterCard Foundation Savings Portfolio Learning Partnership Image

MasterCard Foundation Savings Portfolio Learning Partnership

PLG Applications



Peer Learning Group (PLG)

Commercial Relationships between Savings Groups and Financial Service Providers 


Are you a financial service provider that engages with Savings Groups?

Are you facing challenges in serving this market, related to market assessment; product development; delivery channels; digital infrastructure; financial and digital literacy; customer engagement; multi-stakeholder partnerships; or other areas?

Are you interested in teaming up with market leaders and innovators facing similar challenges to identify and test solutions?

Please apply to participate in this Peer Learning Group focused on challenges and opportunities faced by financial service providers in working with Savings Groups. This initiative is facilitated by the SEEP Network as part of the The MasterCard Foundation Savings Portfolio Learning Partnership — implemented by Itad in collaboration with the SEEP Network.

What you can expect. Who can submit applications and participate?
Timeline and Activities What will happen after we receive your application?
How can you apply? I am a senior manager - Why should I let my team participate?
What types of challenges is the PLG looking for?                                                                        Download the Application 

  • Exchange assumptions and experiences with peers facing similar challenges
  • Triangulate evidence amongst participants and external experts
  • Test ideas in (almost) real time as interventions are implemented
  • Document your and the group’s learning to share with the broader industry
  • Build professional connections in this field

Over the last decade, there has been a proliferation of initiatives to expand access to formal financial services in underserved markets through Savings Groups (SGs).  Initiatives to link Savings Groups with FSPs have resulted in improved access to finance for SG populations as well as new markets and increased deposits for financial institutions.

Several challenges still remain however, before these efforts can reach scale. Product development, delivery channels, customer engagement, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and evidence on the demand and supply of financial services for SGs remains thin.  Diverse market actors have piloted various approaches to address some of these issues, and while financial service providers have an important wealth of experience and knowledge they often lack facilitated spaces for mutual learning with other FSP practitioners during critical moments.

The Peer Learning Group is designed to help you seize opportunities in a cost-effective way.

 Timeline and activities, including time commitments

The contributions from each organization will depend on different variables, such as type and scope of the challenges to be tackled during the PLG, geographic location of the PLG members, resources available by each team, etc.  However, it is expected that each participant will invest time to prepare and participate in the process as shown below.

Timeline and activities: June 2017-January 2018

The specific activities and detailed timeline will be determined by the group. The PLG will have a facilitator to support participants with their work plan, logistics, access to technical assistance, documentation of the process, in-person and virtual meetings, and communication with external audiences. 

The PLG facilitator will help the group to refine its learning questions and develop an action plan and facilitate 1-2 in-person meetings as well as a monthly group call/virtual discussion.

Time commitment:

  • Availability to attend a 2-day in-person meeting in mid to late July 2017 (exact dates and location are yet to be determined). The SEEP Network will cover the costs for the PLG participants to attend this first in-person meeting. At this opening workshop, PLG participants will clarify the problem and/or opportunities to be addressed by the group, refine their learning objectives, and develop an action plan.
  • Participation in virtual discussions/calls each month (approximately 5 in total).
  • Participation in a closing in-person meeting in December 2017. Willingness and ability to cover the costs of participation in this second meeting may constitute an applicant selection criteria.

How can you apply?

Please fill out the form at the link below to share with us a short description of your work engaging with Savings Groups, your most critical challenges and how they relate to the PLG learning objective, and some contact details for us to get back in touch with you.


If you cannot access the online application, please download and complete this form. It can be submitted by email to programs@seepnetwork.org.

What types of challenges is the PLG looking for?

We are interested in challenges that relate to the commercial relationship between financial service providers and Savings Groups. Potential areas of focus include market assessment, product development, delivery channels, digital infrastructure, financial and digital literacy, customer engagement, and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

We are open to any type of challenge - as long as it relates to your work with Savings Groups. Do not hold back because you think your challenge is not interesting enough or you have not articulated it well. 

 Who can submit applications and participate?

  • You are a financial service provider that engages with Savings Groups
  • You are a part of a team that is implementing a SG linkage project
  • You will be directly involved[1] in the implementation of ideas that may come out of the Group.
  • You can invest some time in the activities of the PLG and participate with a spirit of collaboration, respect, creativity, and openness (sharing knowledge within and outside of the team) – See time requirements above.
  • You can mobilize your team around the findings and lessons learned from the PLG.

What will happen after we receive your application?

We will analyze the responses we get and select a group of up to 5 participants from different organizations who are facing a similar challenge. We will take into account things like type of challenge, type of program, sector/subsector, target populations, geographic location, strategic value for the broader market development field, etc.

We will let you know if you have been selected to be a part of a PLG and the details of the other members of your group. Through a facilitated process, the group will agree on the scope of the challenge(s), the strategies to overcome it, the ways in which it will interact, etc. Note that even if you are not selected, your application will be valuable for informing the PLG process, and we will keep you informed of future opportunities to engage with the SEEP Network’s learning events on the topic.

 I am a senior manager – why should I let my team participate?

Becoming part of the PLG will give your team a unique opportunity to further increase their knowledge, build their capacity and skills and expand their professional networks.

If you are a FSP engaging with Savings Groups, your team is probably facing challenges. This initiative is a unique opportunity for a team to overcome challenges in collaboration with experienced practitioners from other projects and top-class external experts with a relatively small contribution in time. This collaboration will take place through structured, time-bound and facilitated interactions, such as Skype conferences, webinars, and two in-person meetings[2].

An expert facilitator—will structure, facilitate and document discussions, provide technical guidance on action-learning, and consolidate materials and learning in a synthesis in a synthesis document, a valuable resource for your organization and other stakeholders. The report will be widely publicized through the SEEP Network, The MasterCard Foundation and Itad channels and partners.


If you cannot access the online application, please download and complete this form. It can be submitted by email to programs@seepnetwork.org.


[1] To the best of your knowledge in the moment you submit your application. 

[2] See section above for more details on expected contributions from your team.

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