Savings and credit group practitioners and those interested in savings services had a chance to take part in a forum meeting in Johannesburg on 29 May 2012 highlighting the potential of the S&C movement. Recent research by FinMark Trust and SaveAct which investigated the relationship between membership of S&C groups and the development of rural enterprises was presented. Click here for more information.
Arusha Savings Group Summit - 4 - 6 October
SaveAct executive director Anton Krone and Programme Co-ordinator for the Eastern Cape Leap project Nolufefe Nonjeke-Dlanjwa were the only two South Africans among 265 delegates from 46 countries at the Arusha Savings Group Summit held in Tanzania in early October 2011.
According to one of the organisers, the summit marked the first time that savings group practitioners from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe were able to meet, share knowledge, discuss a range of viewpoints, learn about research initiatives currently underway and explore the many ways savings groups are being used as a platform for development throughout the world.
The summit was sponsored and organised by Oxfam America and the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire along with The SEEP Network and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and Financial Sector Deepening Trust Tanzania. A host committee made up of the Aga Khan Foundation, CARE, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Financial Sector Deepening Trust Kenya, Freedom from Hunger, Plan, Savings Revolution, Trickle Up, VSL Associates, World Relief, and World Vision provided support in the development of the summit agenda.
For more information on the summit, visit http://www.arushasavingsgroupssummit.org/.
Strategic review: June 2011
SaveAct staff and trustees attended a strategic review meeting facilitated by Warren Bank in late June.
The group agreed that SaveAct’s savings model is working very effectively. This is now established. The emphasis will now be on developing the economic aspects. Enterprise development, through Isiqalo and its related elements, was identified as particularly relevant in the South Africa context at this time of extreme unemployment. The notion of a ‘step-up model’, where savings group members accumulate capital, financial literacy, confidence, assets, and the capacity to engage in risk-taking enterprise activity is where SaveAct will give attention over the coming period. A graphic depiction of this model is available here.
Course 2011: Community-based Savings and Credit
A course hosted jointly by SaveAct and VSL Associates Ltd. on community-based savings and credit at the end of February 2011 attracted 22 participants from Afghanistan, the United States of America and several countries in Africa, including Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Mozambique and South Africa.
Held in Pietermaritzburg, the five-day course exposed participants to best practice in the field of savings-based community-managed microfinance and was led by leading practitioners Gabrielle Athmer of VSL and Nolufefe Nonjeke-Dlanjwa of SaveAct (Eastern Cape).
Download the course flyer here [PDF 190KB].
Training: towards more effective management of projects and people
A specially designed management information system which tracks performance of savings groups was introduced to SaveAct staff in August 2010.
Training in the new system was conducted by Gabrielle Athmer (pictured left) of VSL & Associates and is expected to make a significant contribution towards the effective management of projects and the supervision of SaveAct field officers and Save-Act suppored Village Promoters. Athmer has wide experience of voluntary savings and lending schemes and their management, gained from work in several countries in Africa.
The new system allows SaveAct to track its work in financial services and life skills training according to a variety of ratios and indicators.
The specialised training was made possible with financial assistance from the Ford Foundation, Misereor and Vesper Society.
SaveAct staff members, from left, Fisani Zondi (field officer, KZN), Nolufefe Nonjeke-Dlanjwa (Eastern Cape coordinator) and Sibongile Nzuza (senior field officer, KZN) engage during training with the new management information system.
Sharing research and experience
SaveAct hosted a Savings-Led Development Actors' Workshop in Durban from 15 to 17 July 2009.
The gathering was aimed at non-governmental organisations working with models of savings and credit in and around Pietermaritzburg. The objective was to explore interest among the organisations in developing a joint research agenda, as well as the exchange of experiences and joint policy and advocacy work.
The meeting was attended by five NGOs, donors and three research specialists.
The workshop produced a clearly defined agenda for future co-operation between organisations.
Participants at the Savings-led Develoment Actors' Workshop - "Collaborative Research, Learning and Advocacy: a dialogue among practitioners and partenrs to explore its value and potential," held in Pietermaritzburg from 15 to 17 July 2009.
Planning for the future
SaveAct held a strategic review and development process meeting in March 2010. The process was evaluated by Stelios Comninos and facilitated by Warren Banks.
Participants at the SaveAct strategic planning session held at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in March 2010.