SMDP Webinar: Savings Groups - Building Scale and Impact through Adaptation and Experimentation

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 10:00am to 11:00am


Savings groups (SGs) have gained wide acceptance as a valuable complement to formal and other informal financial services where people can save, borrow, build assets and receive social supports, even social services.

Several technical models and methods have emerged to support SGs. Drivers of scale are becoming clearer. The webinar will examine these drivers through SG programs from Africa, Asia and Latin America that have achieved considerable scale and impact. Elements to be analyzed include: different agent models, clustering/ networking, bank linkages, branchless banking and the use of SGs as a platform for other interventions such as value chains, safety net, energy projects, risk management preparation. How each program captured double-bottom line financial and social performance/impact monitoring will also be included.

Unfortunately, technical solutions are usually not enough. Groups and their members often live with unpredictable risks and shocks as well as unstable policy, organizational and national environments. It is becoming widely accepted that since change is not linear, our strategies to address them must also use more complexity and adaptation. This webinar will introduce systems thinking and practice as a framework for achieving broad scale and impact with SGs. The webinar is a taster for the 4.5 month course being offered online and in a face to face format. In the course, students will not only analyze systems. A peer-supported action research assignment running the length of the program will allow students to practice adaptive systems thinking, experimenting and adapting in real time while they are in the field.

The final portion of the course will take place in Zambia to coincide with a Global Savings Group Conference. This face-to-face week will be both a wrap-up for the course as well as an opportunity to visit and assess Savings Group programs in Zambia.