A very poor Malian woman joined Nyesigiso - the big network of cooperatives in Mali that I was then the director of. Remarkably she was able to save some money, and borrowed some also, and went into business. It was a very small business - it started with 1500 francs, about three dollars. The business grew, and she began to acquire some assets and more important, confidence. We wanted to see what the impact of membership was, especially on the businesses of our members, so we brought some consultants in to do a qual-quan impact study. I went out in the field to spend some time with the members, and I met this woman and asked her what had changed in her life. “People greet me now,” was the unexpected response.
Having done virtually no field work this year I’ve had more time away from the minutiae of individual projects to follow some of the broader themes I find interesting and relevant. As the year draws to a close, I was asked “what have you been thinking about?” and so I found myself pondering what has been — if not to try and figure out what might be, to at least take stock of where we’re at.
There are some great websites that are swimming against the current of consumerism. Here’s one, from Portland, where I live: The Non-Consumer Advocate. It consistently makes the point that the quality of our lives is not measured by the stuff that we own.
This idea is a stick in the wheel, or a spanner in the works, of the consumer banking industry. If people made do with less, we wouldn’t need credit card debt, and then - what would happen to the banks? We need to be courageous to think about living that differently. If China had to close some of their coal-powered planet-destroying factories, if Walmart’s
Each spring, Philanthropiece hosts a Community Bank Conference in Baja California Sur, Mexico, that offers a space for savings group members from the region to gather to share experiences and to learn from one another. The conference features workshops, dialogues, and learning sessions that allow local leaders to grow and deepen their understanding of the methodology. We will hold our next conference in March of 2015, and we plan to highlight the role of the Social Fund within a savings group.
Some of you are following Puddle, the US based on-line savings and lending programme. Puddle is still evolving rapidly, but it’s also a functioning service where lots of people are actively saving and borrowing - I’ve invested all of twelve dollars, just to be a member and follow its progress.
I was excited to see this message from Puddle a couple of days ago:
I just came across this short film and I thought I would share it with our readers who are practicing “Financial Education”.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was involved in a fairly early effort to spread what we called “Financial Education” in 2006-7 in Uganda, and this was a very successful effort, or so everyone said. But, increasingly,
David Bornstein, author of The Price of a Dream and many other excellent books, writes of savings groups in this week’s New York Times. His column, part of a blog called Opinionater, focuses on development “Fixes.” Clearly, he thinks savings groups have the potential to be such a fix. Enjoy his post here called “An Inclusive Emerging Economy, With Africa in the Lead.” And he is a fan of Savings Revolution.
Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) are groups in which every member contributes the same amount every meeting (usually the same amount of money, but sometimes sugar or household goods), and the members take turns receiving the entire amount. They provide less flexibility that Savings Groups, but some of the same services: Commitment savings, lump sums, social support. They are simple, generally safe (unless people drop out after they have received their share), and very widespread. ROSCAs have a hundred names
Hi Everyone. Sorry that there has been so little activity on Savings Revolution. Thanks for your patience. I (Paul) have been super busy with travel and family stuff, and Kim has been super busy doing other things, and our other contributors have been super busy doing their thing.
Thanks for you patience, and thanks for a couple of people who wrote to ask if I was alright! Yes. And, I have some time, and lots of ideas, so put on your seat belts.
And - everyone - here’s a reminder to use Savings Revolution as a forum - your posts are welcome!
I have recently had the pleaure of speaking with many SG practitioners about the question of Quality Savings Groups. I have been asking the question, “How do you measure quality in a Savings Group?” I got to do this while working on the SEEP “Do No Harm” principles - more on this is future posts.
Quality is an important question, because - let’s be frank here - quality varies enormously among different groups. Many are fine, safe places to save. Members follow the rules, come to meetings, and respect each other. The group follows safe practices - including meeting weekly, and not pressuring members to take loans they don’t want or need.
Like so many English words, “Save” has multiple senses, so that people talking about “saving” might think they agree, when they don’t - or vice versa.
Let me turn to my dictionary: Here are two of the four meanings of Save:
First, Save means, “keep and store up (something, esp. money) for future use
It has been nearly five months since World Relief first attempted to pilot the e-Recording app in Rwanda. We have since retooled and launched. As I wrote in the first installment we had problems with our smartphone, which had trouble staying connected to the internet. It was an old and very cheap phone, so we knew if we were to give it another try we would have to purchase a new phone. We are now using a Motorola Moto-E, which costs around $130. It’s about $30 more expensive than the smartphones being used in other pilots, but boasts a
Comcast is the largest cable company in the world, with revenue of USD 65 billion a year. On two occasions, national surveys found that Comcast had the worst customer satisfaction rating of any company or government agency in the country, worse even than the Internal Revenue Service. Comcast recently got some particularly bad publicity when