Advancing the inclusion of millions of people around the world into pro-poor, sustainable financial services.
Savings Groups 2013 Conference
The Savings Groups 2013 Conference took place March 4 and 5, 2013, outside Washington, DC . The conference was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam America, and others active in the Savings Group sector.
The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 48 countries, The MasterCard Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper. An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, it was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006.
2007: The SEEP Network Savings-led financial Services Working Group Ratios
The SLWG came together in 2007 to disseminate learning about the new and innovative methodology behind Savings Groups (SGs). First on its learning agenda, the working group produced The SEEP Network Savings-led Financial Services Working Group, a set of ratios that provide information on member satisfaction, financial performance, and operating efficiency of SGs.
2009: Microfinance from Below Conference, Tufts University.
On March 26-28, 2009, 300 stakeholders from the private, non-profit, and government sectors convened to discuss the future of microfinance in a two day conference organized by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam America, and The Fletcher School. Topics discussed included the promise of the new trend of savings-led microfinance, the linking of communities to banks and other financial institutions, and the role of technology in savings-led initiatives. See conference proceedings.
Conference participants contributed articles and research preceding the conference, all of which were compiled in the book Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Build Microsavings.
2010: Savings Groups: What are They?
In 2010 members devoted their efforts to promoting the savings-led methodology to the wider financial and development sectors, which culminated in the publication Savings Groups: What are They? This publication explores and explains the nature of SGs and the varying approaches used by the most experienced facilitating agencies.
2011: Arusha Savings Groups Summit
On October 4-6, 2011 over 250 SG practitioners from over 50 countries gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, to attend the Arusha Savings Groups Summit, an event co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, Financial Sector Deepening, and SEEP.
Participants had the opportunity to share their achievements, their challenges, and their hopes for the future of the SG movement. Inspired by Stuart Rutherford’s opening speech, participants enthusiastically explored a number of pressing topics: what is the intersection of technology and savings groups? What are the appropriate program design, bookkeeping, and replication strategies to reach poor populations? Are savings groups a suitable vehicle for other development interventions? What should be the role of facilitating agencies in group promotion? In addition, the Summit provided an opportunity to share preliminary results of important research (qualitative, quantitative, and RCTs) measuring the social and economic impacts of the SG model.
We are currently working on a conference publication made possible by The MasterCard Foundation: Savings Groups at their Frontier and expected for release in November 2012.
2010 Online conference defining sustainability for Savings groups. See conference synthesis
2011 Online conference on Savings Groups in Latin America. See conference synthesis