Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Build Microsavings

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* Balanced assessment of recent savings-led programs in microfinance
* Contributors include wide range of scholars and practitioners

The entry of the private sector into financial services for the poor is a relatively new development, but already the glossy promises of credit-led microfinance are facing scrutiny from the development community. Policymakers and economists have begun picking through the hype of microfinance to identify where and how top-down loans might fit into broader human development efforts. To many, the answer involves shifting focus to another financial service: savings. Serving as a strong and perhaps more effective tool than microcredit, microsavings is quickly becoming a lauded poverty-alleviation tool.

Contributors to Financial Promise for the Poor cover current innovations in microsavings happening around the world. They describe how savings group members in the developing world are avoiding many of the financial liabilities and debt of other microfinance programs while gaining skills and finding opportunities in collective enterprise. The turn from credit to savings speaks to the growing empowerment of individuals and communities as they break the bonds of indebtedness and find their own paths to financial security.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565493407
  • Publisher: Kumarian Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Malcolm Harper taught at Cranfield School of Management until 1995, and since then has worked mainly in India. He has published on enterprise development and microfinance. He was Chairman of Basix Finance from 1996 until 2006, and is Chairman of M-CRIL, the microfinance credit rating agency and business development, and author of numerous books and articles. He is the co-editor of What's Wrong with Microfinance? (Practical Action, 2007).

Kim Wilson is a lecturer at The Fletcher School and a Fellow with the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises and the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University. Spending time in India beginning in 2001 through 2005, Professor Wilson worked closely with savings groups, connecting them to banks with a particular focus on tribal areas. She has worked for Catholic Relief Services heading their Microfinance Unit, and in that tenure, spearheaded CRS' shift from focusing on credit to the poor to savings of the poor. Professor Wilson has consulted for many international agencies in savings and credit. Previously, she was in the private sector, occupying senior management positions in finance and franchising.

Matthew Griffith is an independent consultant focusing on community finance and livelihoods. He has worked with marginalized communities in Russia, the United States and Ethiopia. Most recently, he worked with the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University on a project focusing on the financial resilience of disaster-affected populations. He received a Masters from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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Table of Contents

Part 1: Do-It-Yourself Finance; 1) Teacups and Hand-Hoes: Home-Grown Savings Groups in East Africa - Elke Jahns; 2) Dhukuti – A Real Treasure: The Growth of a Savings Group Idea in Nepal - Shailee Pradhan; 3) From Self-Help Groups to Village Financial Institutions in Bali: How Culture Determines Finance and Finance Determines Culture - Hans Dieter Seibel; 4) On an Informal Frontier: The ASCAs of Lower Assam - Abhijit Sharma and Brett Hudson Matthews; Part Two: Now They Need Us (Or Do They?); 5) Revisiting the Early Days of CARE’s Savings Groups: Interview with Moira Eknes, Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) Program Originator - Kristin Helmore; 6) The Savings Experience: Catholic Relief Services El Salvador - Mabel Guevara and Bridget Bucardo Rivera; 7) Saving Cash and Saving the Herd: The Role of Savings Groups in the Lives of East African Pastoralists - Matthew Griffith; 8) Informal Group-Based Savings Services: The Indian Experience - Girija Srinivasan and N. Srinivasan; Part Three: More Ways of Skinning the Cat, and Different Kinds of Cats; 9) Jipange Sasa: A Little Heaven of Local Savings, Hot Technologies, and Formal Finance - Kim Wilson; 10) Retrofitting an Agricultural Program with Savings-Led Microfinance: The Oxfam Experience in Cambodia - Vinod Parmeshwar and Yang Saing Koma; 11) Virtual Staff: Exploring a Franchise and Incentive Model for Group Replication - Anthony Murathi, Nelly Otieno, and Paul Rippey; 12) Market-Led Expansion through Fee-for-Service Agents - Julie Zollmann and Guy Vanmeenen; 13) The Green Box: The Savings Systems of Smallholder Farmers in Southern Haiti - Kim Wilson and Gaye Burpee; 14) Adapting the Bachat Committee: Helping Pakistan’s Urban and Rural Poor Save Better - Wajiha Ahmed; Part Four: Sinking, Swimming, and Staying Afloat; 15) Women’s Empowerment Through Literacy, Banking and Business: The WORTH Program in Nepal, Post-Program Research Findings - Marcia Odell; 16) Savings Groups and Village Development in Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountain Range - Wajiha Ahmed and Joanna Ledgerwood; 17) A Snapshot of Oxfam’s Saving for Change Program in El Salvador - Eloisa Devietti and Janina Matuszeski; Part Five: An Alternative, or Something Different Altogether?; 18) The Savings-Led Revolution: Mass-Scale, Group Managed Microfinance for the Rural Poor - Jeffrey Ashe; 19) Pushing the Rich World’s Debt Crisis On to the Poorest: Why Savings Groups Should Not Rush to Borrow From Banks - Hugh Allen; 20) More! Better! Cheaper! Savings Groups as Commodities - Paul Rippey; 21) The Box and the Ark - Kim Wilson, Malcolm Harper, and Matthew Griffith

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