Advancing the inclusion of millions of people around the world into pro-poor, sustainable financial services.
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.
Savings Groups Conferences
SG2015: The Power of Savings Groups
As Savings Groups have grown in popularity, the community is broadening to include practitioners that employ savings groups as part of coordinated development activities. SG2015 will welcome a diversity of new actors, including private entities, commercial banks, mobile service providers, and practitioners from other allied sectors such as health.
SG2015 represents a community of stakeholders committed to accelerating innovations through knowledge sharing and collaboration. With support from a number of the leading organizations that have championed SGs, this community has come together twice before (in 2011 and 2013) to collaborate, share best practices, and increase the impact of savings groups worldwide. The community convenes again for SG2015: The Power of Savings Groups, taking place in Lusaka, Zambia from November 10 - 12, 2015.
Specifically, the conference looks to achieve the following objectives:
- Exploring innovations and technology enhancements to Saving Groups’ operations.
- Promoting Savings Groups as a catalyst of broad development that engages cooperation across a growing and increasingly diverse community of SG supporters
- Articulating coherent strategies that both maintain program quality and facilitate increased scale.
- Educating participants about new models and processes for linking Savings Groups to formal financial institutions.
- Developing a research agenda to expand the evidence base for SG-related strategies.
SG2013: Expanding Financial Inclusion and Development
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.
Topics for discussion included:
- The place that Saving Groups occupy within the current financial landscape
- How Savings Groups can be linked to the formal financial sector
- How Savings Groups reach the rural poor in remote areas
- How to scale up Savings Groups
- How Savings Groups can be platforms for other services, products, and types of education
- How to link Savings Groups to mobile technology
SG2011: Arusha Savings Groups Summit
The Arusha Savings Groups Summit (ASGS) was the first global event for practitioners of savings group methodologies. 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 The SEEP Network.
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?