Gateway Guide to Savings Groups

Date Published: 
Jun 2015

Highlighting noteworthy publications and resources on Savings Groups

Savings groups provide informal but organized mechanisms for people to save. Groups are typically formed with assistance from an external party and operate independently after approximately one year of training. These groups aim to provide a safe, convenient place to save, offer ready access to small loans, and a small insurance fund. Each member decides how much she can save each week and contributes it to the core group fund. Group members lend to each other at interest rates they decide on collectively, thus generating an accumulating capital sum made up of member savings, interest, fines for missing payments, and late fees. The accumulated capital is distributed to members at the end of each cycle in proportion to the members’ respective contributions to the fund. Since the group fund is financed entirely by tapping the savings of the group members, there is no external loan fund to manage and oversee. 

Below we present a compiliation of resources on Savings Groups. You can also learn more in our Savings and Deposits resource center

The Impact of Savings Group on Children’s Wellbeing: A Review of the Literature 
May 2015, USAIDFHI 360
Reviewing community-based saving group programs focused on benefiting children in resource-poor environments
Quality of Delivery Study  
Mar 2015, FSD Kenya
Examining the outreach, value and consumer protection practices of Savings Groups (SGs) in Western Kenya
Pilot Project Report: Using Mobile Money to Link Savings Groups to Financial Institutions  
Jan 2015, Freedom from Hunger
Examining programs linking savings groups to formal financial services in Burkina Faso
Post-Project Replication of Savings Groups in Uganda
Nov 2013, Datu Research
Examining the progress of replication of saving groups
Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities in Promoting Savings Among Low-Income Individuals in Lesotho, Malawi, and South Africa
Nov 2013, FinMark Trust
Providing recommendations to enhance savings among low-income individuals
Connecting the World's Poorest People to the Global Economy: New Models for Linking Informal Savings Groups to Formal Financial Services
Feb 2013, CARE
Innovative models to link informal savings groups to formal financial services in Africa
How Saving is Influenced by Behavioral Biases  
Mar 2015, MicroSave
Providing recommendations to promote formal savings among low-income people
Saving Together: Group-Based Approaches to Promote Youth Savings
Dec 2013, Freedom from HungerMasterCard Foundation
Exploring the role of savings groups and financial education in helping youth save better
The Evidence-Based Story of Savings Groups: A Synthesis of Seven Randomized Control Trials
Sept 2013, The SEEP Network
Examining the role of savings group in improving the lives of their members
Private Service Provider: Implementation Manual
Jan 2013, Catholic Relief Services
Providing practitioners with an approach to implement PSP projects in savings and credit groups
Savings Groups Fuel Digital Design for Smallholders in Rwanda 
May 2015, CGAP
Exploring how digital financial services could alleviate common challenges around mechanics, agility transparency, and trust that Savings Groups face