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Best Practices in Institutional Savings-Led Microfinance for OVC Populations: Technical Guidance Series

Institutional Savings-Led Microfinance for OVCs

Institution-based, savings-led microfinance can have a significant impact on orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). Savings and assets accumulated through microfinance interventions allow OVC to protect and promote their economic status, increasing household economic resilience against external shocks, contributing to livelihood development and higher educational attainment, boosting prevention, treatment and care and support outcomes. Microfinance initiatives which leverage complementary linkages to non-financial services such as financial education, social skills training and livelihoods courses further provide vulnerable populations with the skills to successfully navigate their financial lives and facilitate their graduation out of poverty. This initiative will gather and synthesize available evidence on institutional savings-led microfinance programs working directly with OVC populations, as well as those that target youth in general, in order to generate actionable, user-friendly learning outputs that can inform future strategies to better serve the OVC populations.

According to UNAIDS, an estimated 17 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents to HIV-AIDS.  The OVC population is less likely to acquire basic education and more likely to suffer from severe poverty, leaving these children more vulnerable to disease and economic and environmental shocks. In the face of inadequate community-wide support capacity, these children grow up with little chance of escaping poverty without continued reliance on external support mechanisms. The targeting of OVC populations can be a crucial poverty alleviation strategy: Not only can a successful intervention raise the standard of living for the child, but it can also create positive multiplier effects within the community as a whole.

A growing body of research demonstrates how institution-based, savings-led microfinance can improve economic strengthening (ES) and HIV-related outcomes for OVCs via a variety of complex pathways. However, there are significant knowledge gaps as to how to effectively use institutional savings products and services to achieve positive outcomes for OVC populations. This SEEP initiative will convene technical experts and consultants to summarize and analyze the existing evidence on institutional savings-led microfinance interventions, with an ultimate goal of addressing the major outstanding questions and challenges in providing appropriate financial services to OVCs. 

Discussions and findings will be shared with the SEEP community by means of outputs that may include technical notes, guidance notes, briefing notes, and blog series. These tools and knowledge should prove instructive for practitioners, donors, researchers, and policymakers alike. 

Additional information will be available soon.  With questions, please contact Nisha Singh at singh@seepnetwork.org

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