Today’s Revolutionary:  
Rodney King

 

  Rodney King was an American construction worker who became nationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991. A videotaped the beating from his balcony, and sent the footage to a local news station. The footage shows five officers surrounding King, several of them striking him repeatedly, while other officers stood by. Part of the footage was aired around the world, raising public concern about police treatment of minorities. The officers were charged with with assault and use of excessive force; after a long trial, all the officers walked free, and riots broke out in Los Angeles and elsewhere. King - who had almost died from the beating and was still recovering - appealed for peace: “People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along?”

  

 

 

 

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.


     

    Winkomun: This is a site of the ACAF network, mostly in Europe. They are doing great work and are Northern Lights leaders. Nice video where various members answer the question, “What is a Group”? Also available in español, català, and français. Where else can you get news about Savings Groups in Catalan?

    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.

    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!

    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.


    Tuesday
    Jul012014

    Hugh Allen on working with SGs...

    I spend most of my time in Africa helping to set up savings groups. These are small informal associations, made up of 15-25 people (mostly women) who regularly meet to save. The money is used as a loan fund, from which anyone in the group can borrow, paid back with interest - at a rate set by the group. At the end of a year all the loans are paid back (defaulting is very rare) and the money is shared out in proportion to what each person has saved. The returns are very high, averaging between 20-30%, because no-one receives a salary and the ‘office’ is usually under a tree! No wonder then that members prefer to save their money in the group instead of a bank, where they get no returns and charges eat away at their savings. I am constantly amazed to be paid for doing this and, in 44 years in development work, have never had such fun and felt so rewarded.

    (This originally appeared in the Guardian Newspaper Unusual Jobs section).

    Wednesday
    Jun112014

    Imagining a world without banks

    National Public Radio has an interesting podcast called “A World Without Banks”. Here’s what they say on their site:

    There’s this big idea floating around right now. It sounds crazy and fringey, but it turns out some non-crazy, non-fringey people are into it. The idea is this: let’s get rid of the banks. Don’t make them safer. Don’t make them smaller. Just get rid of them.

    The podcast talks about peer-to-peer lending and other new technology-driven possibilities. Sometimes entire industries disappear when

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Jun052014

    New film about SGs from FSD Kenya

    Here’s a film we just made about FSD Kenya’s work with Savings Groups. We hope you enjoy it.

    Thursday
    May292014

    The Inclusionist Vs. The Affordable Care Act*

    A few months ago, the instructor of a user design workshop challenged the class to redraft the Healthcare.gov website, the official site of the Affordable Care Act.

    In a flash, my 23-year old classmate and team member, Sam, deftly sketched out a new landing page and a few forms. We had time left over to chat. It was Sam’s chance to question the very existence of the site itself.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    May222014

    Shared Value Communities - trust, sharing, collective intelligence

    A famous 16th century Portuguese poet, Luis Vaz de Camões, once wrote: necessity refines ingenuity. In our brave new world of scarcity, ACAF Portugal is focused on delivering social impact to improve this country’s low level of interpersonal trust (one of the lowest levels in OECD countries). This lack of trust undermines cooperation, initiative and sustainability, a trend we aim to stop. We also want to help prevent poverty and unemployment through our Shared Value Communities, a way to generate and manage collective intelligence and resources.

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    May192014

    Tool vs. Machine

    E.F.Schumacher, the economist who promoted “human scale” development, distinguished between a tool and a machine in this famous passage from the chapter Buddhist Economics in his book, Small is Beautiful:
     
    … there are therefore two types of mechanisation which must be clearly distinguished: one that enhances a man’s skill and power and one that turns the work of man over to a mechanical slave, leaving man in a position of having to serve the slave. How to tell the one from the other?

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    May082014

    How does that game work?

    By the time my daughter Sayer was six years old, she had learned how to play games on our old Apple computer. Once when I had brought some work home from my office on my laptop, Sayer came up and looked at my screen. “What’s the name of that game, Daddy”, she asked? 
     
    I smiled, and said, “Excel”. Sayer asked how you played it, and I showed her how to add three and three. I never told her that most people don’t consider Excel a game
     
    I thought of that incident when I visited a savings group in in Caimito Dominican Republic today. The group was made up of young people, led by the President, Adelarissa, aged nine. The group is in its third

    Click to read more ...

    Saturday
    May032014

    If you care about health, read this

    If you work in savings groups and at the same time you are working to reduce the impact of malaria (like Savings for Change in Mali) or of HIV (like many USAID programmes) or to improve maternal and child health (like the Aga Khan Chitral Child Survival project in Pakistan), read on…

    A new World Health Organisation report says that air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths a year. Most of these are due to indoor air pollution, from primitive lighting (like the open flame kerosene lantern in the picture at the left) or from inefficient ways of burning charcoal or firewood. That is more deaths than HIV and malaria combined - that’s hard to believe, I know. 

    And when people don’t die, they are often injured. Carbon monoxide weakens immune systems. Kerosene spills and burns children. Houses catch on fire. 

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    May012014

    President for life

    I keep thinking about the question of group quality. What leads to group failure and members losing money? Sometimes it’s not-so-good training, but sometimes, even if we do a great job training, we may train people in the wrong practices.

    One of the practices that I am suspicious of is annual elections. What message does it send to group members to tell them to elect leaders for a year? In particular, what message does that send to group members in countries where elected officials regularly abuse their power and become wealthy? Many groups end up with presidents-for-life, a practice that works about as well in savings groups as it does in politics. 

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Apr242014

    Take this survey. Just do it.

    Dear Readers,

    This is a chance to communicate your opinions and thoughts on innovations in savings groups, including but not limited to all the e-gadgets you keep hearing about.

    Please click here, and that will take you to the survey. The survey has six questions only and won’t take you very long to complete. The results will be processed and included in a study that MicroSave is carrying out for the MasterCard Foundation. They really do want to hear from YOU, so don’t be shy. Your participation makes a difference.

    I took the survey myself, it was quick, and the questions made me think - always a good thing!

    Paul

     

    Tuesday
    Apr012014

    Savings Revolution sold to Barclays Bank

    —For those who took this seriously - seriously? - This is an April Fools Joke—

    Kim Wilson and Paul Rippey announced yesterday that the Savings Revolution website has been sold to Barclays Bank for undisclosed considerations. Kim and Paul started Savings Revolution in 2010 to be an independent voice for community-managed, savings-led groups. The site has been a labor of love for them, financed out of their own resources. In announcing the sale, the founders thank everyone who has contributed to Savings Revolution, and express their hope that the readers will continue their loyalty to the site under the new ownership and management.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Apr012014

    It's like banking

    What is a person’s worth? It used to be about reputation in the community, the loyalty exhibited to friends and employer, the people you could count on in case of need. With increasing development and the broader reach of markets came the need to impersonalize economic transactions, and with that the increasing monetization of most aspects of our lives. Money has become the measure of all things.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Apr012014

    153 million dollars available to form SGs in Nigeria

    REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP 

    FIRST, I MUST SOLICIT YOUR STRICTEST CONFIDENCE IN THIS TRANSACTION. THIS IS BY VIRTUE OF ITS NATURE AS BEING UTTERLY CONFIDENTIAL AND ‘TOP SECRET’. I AM SURE AND HAVE CONFIDENCE OF YOUR ABILITY AND RELIABILITY TO PROSECUTE A TRANSACTION OF THIS GREAT MAGNITUDE INVOLVING A PENDING TRANSACTION REQUIRING MAXIIMUM CONFIDENCE. 

    WE ARE TOP OFFICIAL OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT REVIEW PANEL WHO ARE INTERESTED IN IMPORATION OF GOODS INTO OUR COUNTRY

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Apr012014

    Unprecedented Savings Group promotion in India

     

    In a surprising policy shift, India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, NABARD, traditionally the chief promotor of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in India, has decided to drop the SHG model in favor of self managed groups following traditional SG approaches. NABARD through its partners has formed over 2.2 million SHGs with about 33,000,000 members, and wants to reorient all of them to the SG model over the next 18 months. In order to reach that many people, NABARD is planning to rely on a “Bollywood” themed series of short films to be shown on TV, in movie houses, and through portable media shows going from village to village. The short clip above is an example, designed to sensitize viewers to the role of the fee-for-service trainer. 

    Click to read more ...