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Saving Groups

Savings groups are the first step to financial inclusion for these people as they provide a mechanism to save money while building financial knowledge and skills. They can play a vital role in achieving one of the Global Goals’ ambitions to end poverty in all its forms by 2030.

Since 2004, we have supported more than 1.3 million members in 59,000 savings groups in 28 countries. Of these, 82% are women. We also set up and support youth savings groups to help young people save money and learn key financial skills.

Through savings groups comprised of 15-25 self-selected individuals members mobilize small sums of money to save regularly in a disciplined way, access credit on flexible terms and access basics forms of insurance. Savings Groups are owned, managed and operated by their members; they are, by design, financially and institutionally sustainable and continue to operate independently after a training period of about one year.

On average, each group manages total assets of about $1,200, representing an important safety-net that supports low-income households to meet consumption, investment and emergency needs.

Savings groups can work as effective vehicles of social and economic change. They can be used to deliver financial education, child-rights awareness, healthcare and agricultural training. They can also help communities sustain infrastructure such as water points or build resilience in planning for or recovering from emergencies.

Youth savings groups are a perfect ‘starter system’, allowing young people to learn about finance in a low-risk fashion. As part of the process, young people learn to set savings goals, distinguish between good and bad options for borrowing and discover how to link with banks and microfinance institutions.