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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Do No Harm: Assuring Quality Service Delivery for Saving Groups

For the last decade many Savings Groups practitioners have focused more on efficient delivery, reducing costs and achieving scale than on program quality. With so much right about the SG experience, it has been easy to gloss over what might be wrong. This trend is dangerously close to echoing what happened in the microcredit sector where it took major crises to command attention to the need for consumer protection.

The Savings-Led Working Group (SLWG) of SEEP in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation is working closely with the SG community to develop guidelines for program quality, social performance and consumer protection — that is, principles and guidelines to help agencies succeed in getting the results they want for their Savings Group members. Broadly, what needs to be in place to ensure that programs ‘do no harm’?

Over the next few months, this initiative will go through several steps. Very soon, the SLWG will circulate an on-line questionnaire to gather practitioners’ experience with issues that impact the quality of Savings Groups and what they are doing about it. Instead of responding to imagined threats—what could go wrong—we want to get a better sense of actual threats and occurrences that compromise group quality and develop a response to those real risks. This blog post is the first, but not the last time, that you will be invited, encouraged even, to respond to the questionnaire. We need to learn from as many of you as possible!

Read the complete blog, and leave a comment here.

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