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.
Savings-Led Financial Services Working Group
The publication from the Savings-Led Working Group, Savings Groups at the Frontier, is now available: you can order your copy here! The book explores the issues that will shape the future of Savings Groups. What are the costs, required inputs, and anticipated outreach of these groups? How does replication take place? How sustainable are the groups? Is it feasible to integrate financial and non-financial services? Are linkages to the formal system desirable? What is the impact of groups on members and their households? How can performance be managed? Not surprisingly, these issues mirror the preoccupation of the pioneers of microcredit. However, this book addresses them, not from the perspective of the financial institution, but in support of group members and savers who are managing their own financial services. Learn more.
A Savings Group is like a tiny local credit union: members save together, lend their savings with interest, and share the profits. Today more than 5 million people worldwide participate in some form of Savings Group. The popularity of these groups stems from a great need among the poor for help with managing household cash flow, particularly in remote villages or urban slums where no brick-and-mortar financial institutions exist.
Due to the tenacity and rapid growth of Savings Groups, donors and practitioners increasingly require a practical understanding of savings groups' operations and their potential for serving the "unbanked" poor. The Savings-led Financial Services Working Group (SLWG) was created to this end, bringing together practitioners who work with savings groups to both share their knowledge and experience and disseminate learning more broadly. The working group creates publications, holds on-line discussions, and participates in and organizes conferences to further knowledge of savings group methodologies.
What are we working on?
Our learning agenda for 2013 will focus on spreading the word about the merits of the Savings Groups methodology. To this end, Oxfam America and the Gates Foundation are sponsoring the third in a series of SG conferences that will bring together an array of development actors and the donor community to discuss the opportunities around SGs. The conference will take place March 4th and 5th in Washington DC.
Funded by the Gates Foundation, we will also be producing a research synthesis summarizing the results from seven upcoming Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) that will shed light into the challenges and achievements of the Savings-led methodology.
Finally, we are working to provide spaces for knowledge sharing on topics of interest to the sector through online discussions and webinars. This year, we have given priority to the topic of youth participation in SGs and Social Performance Management.