MicroLead partner RCPB is the oldest cooperative network of savings and credit institution in Burkina Faso and one of the oldest networks in Africa. It is also the largest microfinance institution (MFI) in Burkina Faso. Along with MicroLead partner SOFIPE, it is part of an innovative savings group (SG) linkage project supported by financial education. The two financial service providers are deploying their own staff to supervise “community agents” directly responsible for forming groups and building linkages between savings groups and the MFIs. This is an innovative approach when compared to the more-typical method of relying on an external, NGO partner in charge of creating and linking savings groups.
In order to expand outreach, RCPB is also utilizing mobile agents and digital financial services using its own digital platform, Intercaisse, an application initially developed to link its credit union databases. Intercaisse has the capability of providing mobile money services, so savings groups can have access to their accounts wherever they are.
Like RCPB, SOFIPE links savings groups. These groups were 100% women, however, SOFIPE discovered strong demand from men as well. So, SOFIPE went ahead outside the MicroLead budget to form groups composed of men. The financial institution has noticed that where they’ve been creating male groups, it’s easier to recruit female groups. The lesson: don’t assume you know your market! You can read more about SOFIPE in MicroLead's Digital Financial Services Toolkit #2: Be an Agent.
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