UNCDF is proud to announce its sponsorship of the SG2015 Savings Groups Conference that will take place from 10-12 November 2015. Built on a foundation of commitment savings, Savings Groups (SGs) provide basic financial services, social support, and a platform for learning and testing new ideas to poor people worldwide. With nearly ten million people—mostly women and young people—participating in some form of savings group, it is a highly effective, scalable, and sustainable instrument for engaging the ‘unbanked’ poor. Savings groups are also proven to serve as an entry point for other development efforts, including food security, health, and women’s economic empowerment.
As savings groups have grown in popularity, the SG 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.
UNCDF, via the MicroLead programme, is supporting the development of linkages between savings groups and financial service providers. Out of the 11 projects supported by the programme seven are currently involved in linking savings groups to regulated financial institutions while the remaining four are exploring SG linkages. Some of the linkage projects include facilitating the formation of SGs by NGOs such as CARE, Freedom from Hunger and CRS who then support the linkage to formal Financial Institutions, while other MicroLead projects are linking directly Financial Institutions to already established SGs. Care Tanzania and the Mwanga Community Bank (MCB) recently conducted a workshop about their learnings, you can read more about their findings in this article.
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. We hope to see you there.
To learn more on Savings groups linkages initiatives we invite you to listen to a webinar organized by CARE with another MicroLead partner Fidelity Bank in Ghana. William Derban, Director Inclusive Banking & CSR at Fidelity, introduces the work of the bank with VSLAs in Ghana at minute 43.