In 2009 AKF established the Community-Based Savings Programme (CBSG) to promote community-managed financial services in the disadvantaged communities where it works. CBSGs respond directly to the financial service needs of the remote and rural poor by providing a secure, convenient place to save and take small loans on flexible terms. The CBSG savings opportunity is particularly well suited to the remote rural poor, as it provides an opportunity to save in frequent, small and varying amounts, and do so without costly and time consuming travel.
CBSGs are self-managed groups of 15-25 people who join voluntarily and meet regularly, usually weekly. Systems are kept simple and transparent to ensure that the least literate and influential members participate and benefit. AKF’s CBSG programme is currently implemented in Afghanistan, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan and Tanzania. As of the end of 2014 the program had reached more than 340,000 members, of which 73% were women. Data from a sample of groups being tracked longer term suggests an annual continuation rate of independent groups of 89%, and member retention of 96%. Savings per member has more than doubled in an average of three years.
AKF’s global CBSG program is monitored through the Savings Group Online Management Information (mis.thesavix.org) and the data is available on the SAVIX website (www.savingsgroups.com).