Today’s Revolutionary:  Mike Nichols

 

Mike Nichols, shown here with his comedy partner Elaine May, was an American comedian, playwright, actor, and director, and one of the few people who in his career won an Emmy award (for television), a Grammy (music), an Oscar (movies), and a Tony Award (Broadway). He is best known to many of us for directing some memorable movies including The Graduate, Catch 22 and  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf - but I first heard of him when he and Elaine May were doing improvisational comedy gigs in small clubs. They would ask an audience member to give them a first line to a skit, and another to give them the last, and then, with no rehearsal or prior conversation, would act out a short play that began with the first line, ended with the second, and - sort of - made sense! They became very popular and raised the bar for improvisation. Nichols just passed away, a few days after his 83 birthday.  

Catch up on over 200 previous “Today’s Revolutionaries” here.

 


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Savings Groups are catching on in Europe and North America.

Follow this movement, and maybe get involved yourself.

Start by reading the Northern Lights page of Savings Revolution.

Then, if you like, contact us below, and we can talk about how you can form your own groups. We’ll put you in touch with someone who can help you do that!

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    Favorite Sites

    Here are some other sites that Kim and Paul read, that we think you might enjoy.


    In Their Own Hands - Discussion, photos, and blog postings inspired by the new book by Jeff Ashe and Kyla Jagger Neilan. Jeff Ashe has done more different things well in bringing financial services for the poor than anyone I can think of, and this rich experience is reflected in the book. Totally recommended.

    The SEEP Savings Led Working Group site. Congratulations to SEEP for putting together this comprehensive, easily accessible go-to site on savings groups. Check out their library, their report on outreach by country, and lots of other goodies.

    Making the Road - a blog by Bill Maddocks. “Through honesty, courage and persistent inquiry we learn the way forward as development practitioners and human beings.” Bill brings rich experience not just with development work, but with life, to these discussions. 

    Village Finance Blog. Brett Hudson Matthew’s thoughtful posts are grounded in an understanding of oral cultures, history, and social dynamics. Recommended for anyone trying to understand what’s really happening in savings groups. 

    Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at UC Irvine. “Its mission is to support research on money and technology among the world’s poorest people. We seek to create a community of practice and inquiry into the everyday uses and meanings of money, as well as … technological infrastructures”. ‘Nuff said.

    David Roodman’s Microfinance Open Book Blog. David Roodman combines intelligence, honesty, and a sense of humor. He attempts to bring intellectual rigor to the analysis of the impact of financial services, and isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers in the process.

    Clean Air, Bright Light. This site by Savings Revolution co-founder Paul Rippey contains useful information about lessons learned in using savings groups to promote clean lighting. Still in development but check it out anyway!

    The Evidence Project. Chris Dunford was CEO of Freedom From Hunger for many years and probably more than anyone helped FFH earn a reputation of being willing to look closely at what they were doing, and whether they really were meeting people’s needs. Chris continues that role now as a blogger…

    Center for Financial Inclusion. CFI supports traditional microfinance to become more client friendly, more inclusive, and generally smarter. They have a long-term vision for the sector, and the blog attracts many good writers and thoughtful comments.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Financial Promise for the Poor 

    Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Bulld Microsavings is your go-to book on savings groups. Its contributors are authors you often read in this blog. It covers current innovations in microsavings happening around the world.

    Also, don’t miss…

    Savings Groups at the Frontier, the book inspired by the 2011 Savings Group Summit!

    Buy in UK or US.

    Search Savings Revolution

     
     
     
     

    Over the last twenty years, many people have become interested in helping poor people around the world get good financial services. Mohammed Yunus and the institution he founded, the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, won a Noble Prize in 2006 for helping start a movement that has brought financial services to millions around the world. 

    Banks and microfinance institutions are one way to bring financial series to the poor. Savings Groups, managed by the members and based on savings rather than debt, are another solution. In fact, we think they’re such a good solution that they really are revolutionary.

    Savings Groups are self-selected groups of 15 to 30 women and men who get together to save and borrow. Rather than go into debt to an external institution, they manage their own savings through transparent procedures and all the money they earn through interest on loans stays in their village, and in their group.

    This seven-minute video is a great short introduction to savings groups:

    A number of international non-profit organizations work with local partners to train people in villages and cities in how to manage their own savings groups. There are now over five million savings group members in Africa alone, and the movement is also growing in Asia and Latin America. (There are even a few groups in Europe and North America).

    Savings Revolution is designed to help you learn more about Savings Groups, and to get involved with the most exciting new approach to bringing safe financial services to people around the world.

    Sunday
    May132012

    « Keeping it together in Post-Conflict Côte d’Ivoire »

    In September last year, Sarah Ward of IRC shared an article she had written about VSLAs in Côte d’Ivoire as the villages faced election violence. Sarah told the story of one brave treasurer who buried her group’s metal box moments before she fled her village. When she came back she found her possessions stolen and her house burned to the ground; but she dug through the ashes, and unearthed the metal box with three locks intact; the group members got together and conducted a share-out, and were grateful to have some cash to carry on. Other groups told similar stories.

    Sarah has looked back on this experience in an article published in USAID’s microlinks. She begins to draw some lessons about how groups should manage themselves to help them get through conflict or natural disaster. The lessons are simple, but important:  
    First, provide warnings and encourage planning, without creating panic. IRC did this in Côte d’Ivoire, and most groups who were forewarned decided either to call in all the loans they could and do an emergency share out, or else agree upon a secret hiding place for the cash-box, for after the conflict.
    Second, recognize the need to adapt when restarting the group. There will be changes in membership, as not everyone will come back, and most groups lowered their share value after re-starting to reflect their tighter circumstances. Finally, groups became even more discrete when talking to outsiders about the their activities.
    Finally, IRC Côte d’Ivoire is working with all groups to develop contingency plans in case of conflict. This seems like simply good sense, and is something that could be considered in other countries also.
    There’s much more in the entire article, which is highly recommended. 
    Thanks to Sarah for sharing this, and thanks to microlinks for putting savings groups on their front page. That may be a first, and it is simply more evidence that savings groups are an important part of the financial infrastructure for many people, and will be around for a long time. 

     

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