Transforming Lives: Can Savings and Credit Group Membership Work for People Affected by HIV/AIDS? A South African Case Study
This study investigates the role of savings and credit groups (SCGs) in improving the coping strategies of poor rural households affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. It presents evidence of consumption smoothing and improved coping mechanisms among people who are affected by HIV/AIDS (PABHA) who are members of SCGs.
Stable levels of consumption among participants suggest that they are more protected from insecure and volatile income flows and are able to meet basic household needs. Results indicate that SCG membership has strengthened coping strategies and cushioned vulnerability to the impact of adverse shocks. Conclusions include:
- SCG membership has strengthened risk reduction activities and decreased overall vulnerability to poverty among members;
- SCG membership helps to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS on heavily affected communities and households;
- PABHA are just as successful savers and SCG members as others;
- SCG membership as a coping strategy for PABHA is not well recognized and is underutilized in the policy arena.
The paper concludes the same impact can be achieved on a larger scale and the PABHA project can be replicated in other areas.