Jeffrey Ashe

Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs, Colombia University
Senior Fellow

Jeffrey is a Senior Fellow of the Carsey School of Public Policy. He has been a frequent presenter for the Sustainable Microenterprise and Development Program and has worked closely with Carsey to produce the Arusha Savings Groups Summit, the first global gathering of Savings Groups practitioners in 2011. Jeff designed and, through March 2013, led Saving for Change at Oxfam America, which has grown to 600,000 savings group members in Mali, Senegal, Cambodia, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Saving for Change is designed based on research he carried out in Nepal, India, and Zimbabwe. Jeff previously founded and led Working Capital, which was for several years the largest microfinance institution in the United States, and he has consulted to microfinance projects in more than thirty countries. While at Acción International, he directed the PISCES studies, the first worldwide study of microfinance and, through that study, he introduced group lending to Acción in 1981--marking the start of the ramp-up of the microfinance movement. As a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1960s, he developed the Campesino Leadership Training program where PCVs and liberation theology priests and nuns helped ensure that those who tilled the land received their just share.


He teaches microfinance at Columbia and Brandeis Universities and is a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University.  He has recently completed a book on savings groups entitled “In Their Own Hands: How Savings Groups are Revolutionizing Development” published by Berrett-Koehler. www.intheirownhabds,com His current wok focuses on bringing what he learned about saving abroad to this country through Saving Works. He is also introducing Savings Groups to Conditional Cash Transfer programs in Latin America and through the Hunger Project is introducing Savings Groups to Bangladesh. All of these are Carsey initiatives.  Jeff earned a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in sociology from Boston University.