Jeffrey A Ashe , Grassroots Finance Action, Columbia University , United States
13 September 2022

Dear Achyut,

Thank you for your comment and I know your work well. What has struck me as I have designed, directed, and evaluated savings group programs around the world is that it is the leaders of these groups who train new ones on their own initiative, more than making up for any groups that failed. Instead of us designing program, in a Grassroots Finance Action program we are carrying out in Lynn, Massachusetts with Guatemalan immigrants, our only programmatic input was "train more groups." They were already organizers of "cuchubales" the Guatemalan term for ROSCA. Our only input was a small financial nudge and periodic meetings by Zoom and in person. The outcome, the "cuchubales" they organized saved $411,000 in a single cycle. Of these only 20% had ever been members of a cuchubal, and 80% want to continue saving in their groups. They used their payouts productively, canceling debt, purchasing a car to get to work, adding to their fund to buy a house, and building up a reserve for savings. All this was accomplished without any connection to the formal financial network.