Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Build Microsavings

Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Build Microsavings

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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 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: 9781565493391
Publisher: Kumarian Press, Inc.
Publication date: 06/28/2010
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Illustrations viii

Acronyms ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 Do-It-Yourself Finance

1 Teacups and Hand Hoes 17

Home-Grown Savings Groups in East Africa Elke Jahns

2 Dhukuti-A Real Treasure 23

The Growth of a Savings Group Idea in Nepal Shailee Pradhan

3 From Self-Help Groups to Village Financial Institutions in Bali 29

How Culture Determines Finance and Finance Determines Culture Hans Dieter Seibel

4 On an Informal Frontier 39

The ASCAs of Lower Assam Abhijit Sharma Brett Hudson Matthews

Part 2 Now They Need Us (Or Do They?)

5 Revisiting the Early Days of CARE's Savings Groups 57

Interview with Moira Kristin Eknes, Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) Program Originator Interview Conducted Kristin Helmore

6 The Savings Experience 69

Catholic Relief Services El Salvador Mabel Guevara Bridget Bucardo Rivera

7 Saving Cash and Saving the Herd 75

The Role of Savings Groups in the Livelihoods of East African Pastoralists Matthew Griffith

8 Informal Group-Based Savings Services 85

The Indian Experience Girija Srinivasan N.Srinivasan

Part 3 More Ways of Skinning The Cat, And Different Kinds Of Cats

9 Jipange Sasa 99

'A Little Heaven of Local Savings, Hot Technologies, and Formal Finance Kim Wilson

10 Retrofitting an Agricultural Program with Savings-Led Microfinance 109

The Oxfam Experience in Cambodia Vinod Parmeshwar Yang Saing Koma

11 Virtual Staff 115

Exploring a Franchise and Incentive Model for Group Replication Anthony Murathi Nelly Otieno Paul Rippey

12 Market-Led Expansion through Fee-for-Service Agents Julie Zollmann Guy Vanmeenen 119

13 The Green Box 129

The Savings Systems of Smallholder Farmers in Southern Haiti Kim Wilson Gaye Burpee

14 Adapting the Bachat Committee 139

Helping Pakistan's Urban and Rural Poor Save Better Wajiha Ahmed

Part 4 Sinking, Swimming, and Staying Afloat

15 Women's Empowerment through Literacy, Banking, and Business 145

The WORTH Program in Nepal-Post-Program Research Findings Marcia L. Odell

16 Savings Groups and Village Development in Pakistan's Karakoram Mountain Range Wajiha Ahmed Joanna Ledgerwood 155

17 A Snapshot of Oxfam's Saving for Change Program in El Salvador Eloisa Devietti Janina Matuszeski 167

Part 5 An Alternative, or Something Altogether Different?

18 The Savings-Led Revolution 177

Mass-Scale, Group-Managed Microfinance for the Rural Poor Jeffrey Ashe

19 Pushing the Rich World's Debt Crisis onto the Poorest 189

Why Savings Groups Should Not Rush to Borrow from Banks Hugh Allen

20 More! Better! Cheaper! 199

Savings Groups as Commodities Paul Rippey

21 The Box and the Ark Kim Wilson Malcolm Harper Matthew Griffith 207

Conclusion 215

Contributors 225

Index 231

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