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Microfinance from Below Exchange - Continuing the Dialogue
by J. Ashe et al. in 2009
Microfinance from Below was the first, "micro-savings summit". Practitioners' programs are growing rapidly as their methodologies are improving, with a growing number of new International and local NGOs starting savings-led projects. They have shown that it is possible to provide basic savings and lending services to the rural poor at impressive scale as they generate substantial profits for members and grow their leadership skills and personal empowerment. Social capital, including solidarity and mutual assistance, is commonly seen by members as more important than the savings and lending even though the financial transactions are the glue that keep the groups meeting. And once the groups are in place, they serve as platforms for services ranging from malaria education to literacy to ecological rice production. Many of the savings groups methodologies are well known: Self Help Groups (India), Village Savings and Lending Associations (CARE), Savings and Internal Lending Committees (CRS) and Worth (Pact). Oxfam America and its partner, Freedom from Hunger, call their program "Saving for Change".