Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
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 Sub-Saharan Africa. As one of the largest, independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion in order to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org or follow us on Twitter @MCFoundation.
This paper focuses on savings groups in Swaziland's Shiselweni region. It highlights the benefits that women derive from being part of these groups, like paying for school fees, being able to afford household durables, or even elevating their role in the household. However, the paper also notes that these institutions are far from perfect and points to problems of indebtednesss, lack of transparency, low participation, and inability to meet member's needs during shocks. Most interesting is the various methods that the groups use to calculate interest (not what the may expect). This study shows what happens when groups get some assistance but are left largely to their own devices to get by.
Short version available.