The SILC Financial Diaries: Expanding Financial Inclusion in Africa Research Program

Understanding the financial habits of poor households in Zambia

In 2014, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) launched a two-year Financial Diaries project in Kasama, the capital of Zambia’s Northern Province, to understand the experience of low-income households that participated in the organization’s Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILCs or SILC groups). The project included 270 households -135 SILC households and 135 comparison households - that lived in peri-urban and rural areas around Kasama. The households were very poor - roughly 96 percent of SILC households and 92 percent of comparison households lived below the international poverty line of $1.90 per person per day.

This report analyzes the Financial Diaries data to answer the following questions:

  • How do SILC households earn and spend money? What financial tools do SILC households use?
  • How do SILC households use SILC services?
  • How do SILC households manage their cash flow? How does their cash flow management change in response to major cash flow events in their lives?
  • Are there differences between the cash flows of men and women living in the same households?

About this Publication

By Eric Noggle