- The Road to Money: Father Joy and the Savings Groups of Mankidi(PDF)
By Kim Wilson
Self-help groups have become a strategy for serving poor, rural areas in India. Banks, NGOs and government agencies in India use these groups to fulfill their own agendas, and in the process insist on paperwork that requires literacy and bookkeeping skills, even in remote villages where most people are illiterate. Despite these burdens, groups manage to make good use of government services and are changing the definition of self-help groups from ‘independent, self-managed societies’ to ‘interdependent makers of markets and society’.
- Pray for Money: The Secret Life of Savers in Lower Assam(PDF)
By Kim Wilson, 2009
Banks in the Northeast of India may be missing an opportunity. For years, self-formed savings and loan groups have been evolving. In some village areas households belong to an average of seven different groups. Groups form in unusual ways, and this paper discusses one particular way women in Bidiya village save. They charge for prayers and invest the income into group funds that support livelihood activities such as weaving or household emergencies. But, for all the success of these groups, members would like the benefit of better banking services.
- Jipange Sasa:
A Little Heaven of Local Savings, Hot Technologies and Formal Finance(PDF)
The entry of the private sector into financial services for the poor is a relatively new development, but already the glossy promises of credit-led microfinance are facing scrutiny from the development community. Policymakers and economists have begun picking through the hype of microfinance to identify where and how top-down loans might fit into broader human development efforts. To many, the answer involves shifting focus to another financial service: savings. Serving as a strong and perhaps more effective tool than microcredit, microsavings is quickly becoming a lauded poverty-alleviation tool.
Contributors to Financial Promise for the Poor cover current innovations in microsavings happening around the world. They describe how savings group members in the developing world are avoiding many of the financial liabilities and debt of other microfinance programs while gaining skills and finding opportunities in collective enterprise. The turn from credit to savings speaks to the growing empowerment of individuals and communities as they break the bonds of indebtedness and find their own paths to financial security.