MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: NGOs, Government Unite In Effort to Increase Savings Group Membership to 50m Worldwide by 2020

A group of government and nonprofit organizations recently launched “50 by 2020,” an initiative with the goal of increasing the number of savings group members worldwide from 7.5 million to 50 million by 2020. Contributing organizations include the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the following NGOs: Switzerland-based Aga Khan Foundation, Switzerland-based CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), US-based Catholic Relief Services, US-based CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), US-based Freedom from Hunger, US-based Oxfam America, UK-based Plan International, and US-based Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network.

Savings groups are self-selected and self-led groups through which members save, lend to each other and share in the profits. The majority of savings group members are women. Sophie Romana, deputy director for community finance at Oxfam America, one of 17 international development organizations operating under the Oxfam name, reportedly said, “Savings groups have quietly but surely become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to financial inclusion…. Thousands of groups bring crucial financial services to the poorest of the poor, allowing them to save in a safe place, borrow with confidence from their own group, and create social capital they can draw upon in times of crisis.”

By Nicole Boyd, Research Associate

Sources and Additional Resources:

Oxfam America. “International savings groups NGOs aim for 50 million members by 2020,” http://www.oxfamamerica.org/press/pressreleases/international-savings-groups-ngos-aim-for-50-million-members-by-2020

MicroCapital. December 19, 2012, “MICROFINANCE EVENT: Savings Group Conference 2013: Expanding Financial Inclusion and Development, March 4 – March 5, 2013, Arlington, Virginia, USA,” http://www.microcapital.org/microfinance-event-savings-group-conference-2013-expanding-financial-inclusion-and-development-march-4-march-5-2013-arlington-virginia-usa/

MicroCapital. January 30, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Oxfam International, Symbiotics Launch Small Enterprise Impact Investment Fund for Asia, Africa,” http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-oxfam-international-symbiotics-launch-small-enterprise-impact-investment-fund-for-asia-africa/

MicroCapital. January 23, 2009, “MICROFINANCE EVENT: Microfinance from Below: The Power of Savings and Savings Groups in Frontier Economies, March 26-28, 2009, in Medford, Massachusetts,” http://www.microcapital.org/microfinance-event-microfinance-from-below-the-power-of-savings-and-savings-groups-in-frontier-economies-march-26-28-2009-in-medford-massachusetts/

MicroCapital Universe Profile: The SEEP (Small Enterprise Education and Promotion) Network http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=SEEP+Network

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Plan International http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Plan+International

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Freedom from Hunger http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=freedom+from+hunger

MicroCapital Universe Profile: CARE International (CARE) http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=CARE+International

MicroCapital Universe Profile: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the poor) http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=CGAP+%28Consultative+Group+to+Assist+the+Poor%29

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Aga Khan Foundation http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Aga+Khan+Agency+for+Microfinance+(AKAM)

MicroCapital Universe Profile: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=United+States+Agency+for+International+Development+%28USAID%29

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Oxfam International http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Oxfam+International

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Aga+Khan+Development+Network

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