Why are we invested in this project?
Over 70% of people in emerging markets do not have a formal bank account (Goss, Mas, Radcliffe, and Stark, 2011). Despite exclusion from what we consider formal banking, many people in emerging markets have figured out their own ways to save money – Savings of self help groups.
This is exactly what we are investing in this project. To provide those who are normally excluded because of access the ability to not only save, but take loans from those savings and develop a strong women’s network in the village where challenges and victories can be shared!
- Increase in savings which not only increases wealth but provides a buffer to unexpected changes or shocks that may otherwise have a family fall back into poverty
- Financial independence and improved financial knowledge
- Improved social capital and women from different backgrounds in the village work closely together to save and lend
- Independence from money lenders and other adverse financial providers for short terms cash requirements
- Access in the village to safe and reliable cash injections
- Life long improved savings practices
How will the project work?
This unique savings program aims to work directly with 150 women in the village of Thervipuram A, Mulaithivu.
Savings and loan programs especially amongst women are proven to be one of the most successful and cost effective programs!
It works like this - Firstly we identify a trusted woman in the community who becomes our mobiliser. She is trained on all that she needs to know but other women from the community who have done this in their village (who we trained through previous projects).
With her we go door to door, speaking to women and engaging them on this idea.
One group forms of roughly 10 – 20 women. They have never saved before and they wonder how they will be able to manage it. But slowly ideas are generated like like buying rice together in bulk. If more inspiration is needed then we visit other women who are further along the journey in other villages who can mentor and inspire!
Over time they begin to save and in doing so they inspire other groups, with the help of the mobiliser and our team.
One groups turns into many. They are trained over a period of 12 months on 10 critical areas focusing on everything record keeping, to loaning money, to running a meeting to financial literacy. They are also trained on critical social issues like child abuse, domestic violence and safe migration.
They meet each week, they save, they lend and they share.
In time in the village we have engaged 150 women (approx. 10 groups) and now we can form a cluster. This is a group that sits above the 10 groups with 2 representatives from each group. They gather the savings that are not lent as loans and distribute it as larger loans to a women in the group. They also undertake specialised training in some critical business environment and social matters and help coordinate a voice for the women in the village.
The group will be open to all women who want to partake in the groups – it will leave no one out!
HOW DO WE ENSURE THE PROJECT IS SUSTAINABLE AFTER WE LEAVE?
The low overhead operations makes the groups profitable and financially sustainable. Studies conducted among groups conducted through AFRICA show that 95-100% of the groups regroup after graduation and continue operations without the NGO’s support.
Training is provided for a period of 18 months to the social mobiliser and support is sustained for the social mobiliser and the group members for the 5 years that Palmera continues its presence in the village. Although the program is handed over to the members in its entirety within 18 months of inception, support and monitoring continues to ensure sustainability post our exit from the village.
This program forms part of a 5 year village program in the village of Thervipuram A to increase income, savings and improve access for youth to profitable sectors.