Graham Seel
04 October 2019

It is good to see data-driven confirmation of what intuitively one would expect - even going back to Diaries days, it was apparent that poor households use many savings and credit mechanisms. The question is: does it really matter? I would argue it is critically important in vulnerable regions and communities that informal savings mechanisms continue, not just for the flexibility they add, but also for the non-financial community benefits. Savings Groups of all kinds bring community cohesion, female empowerment, peace-building, and a forum for learning and exploring such diverse activities as HIV management, sustainable agriculture, marketing, and literacy training.
I am a volunteer consultant with World Renew, which is particularly conscious of the need for holistic capacity-building in all of these areas - savings (they use the VSLA model) forms the core of many other related activities that lead to community resilience.