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Savings-Led Financial Services Working Group Image

Advancing the inclusion of millions of people around the world into pro-poor, sustainable financial services.

Past Initiatives

2013: Savings Groups Conference

Oxfam America and the Gates Foundation sponsored the third in a series of SG conferences that brought together an array of development actors and the donor community to discuss the opportunities around SGs.   The conference took place March 4th and 5th in Washington DC. 

 Randomized Control Trial Research Synthesis: Funded by the Gates Foundation, the SLWG produced a research synthesis summarizing the results from seven upcoming Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) that sheds light into the challenges and achievements of the Savings-led methodology.  To access the publication, click here

Latin America Forum on Savings groups:  SEEP supported the first ever Latin America forum on SGs, organized by the Colombian organization IED-VITAL and sponsored by the Banca de las Oportunidades, among others.  The Forum, which was held on December 4 to 6 in Bogota, created a space for sharing experiences and exploring the achievements and challenges of SGs in Latin America.  For more information, click here. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Other Initiatives:

2011 Online conference on Savings Groups in Latin America. See conference synthesis

2010 Online conference defining sustainability for Savings groups.  See conference synthesis 

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