Context

Savings groups are social groups formed by different NGOs also called promoters to help people within the same community especially low-income people to come out of poverty.These people are mobilized into groups of 20–30 people that save an agreed amount of money – known as the share amount – on weekly basis.A member can save up to five times the share amount.
From these resources the group will lend members up to three times the amount they have saved, which they pay back over a short period of time (typically three months) with interest. FinScope 2012 and 2016 studies revealed that 30% of the Rwandan population uses informal mechanism to access financial services hence bringing to light the important role saving groups are playing NOT ONLY in the lives of the poor people but also in the entire financial market spectrum. Saving groups are believed to build the financial literacy and financial capability of its members.
AFR in collaboration with MINECOFIN and Saving Groups (SGs) promoters worked together on the development of a Savings groups map to display or demonstrate the status of the savings groups and understand the contribution of SGs towards financial inclusion (volume of savings mobilized and loans disbursed).This is an exercise that will be rolled out on a yearly basis and will support in providing additional insights on needed interventions to better serve members of these groups.

Methodology

In collaboration with the practitioners, all stakeholders selected 13 data types to consider per saving groups during the mapping exercise. Those data types include: SG location (Province, District and Sector), SG name, SG year of creation, SG total membership (female & male members), International NGO affiliation, Local NGO affiliation, SG status (graduated or supervised), SG saved amount as of December 2016 and SG outstanding loan as of December 2016.
All practitioners compiled their data in the provided excel template and uploaded their data through cartix platform. Cartix is embedded with machine learning capabilities whereby it assisted practitioners by applying auto-correct or flagging fields that needed to be revised. This feature allowed practitioners to fast-track the data collection, compilation & data validation phases simultaneously.Other financial datasets were also considered, these datasets include: data on financial institutions (banks, MFIs & SACCOs), data on mobile agents (Telco agents & bank agents) and finally we used FinScope data (2012 & 2016 surveys). This allowed us to contrast the informal financial sector with the formal financial sector to get more insight on the current outlook from a data perspective.

The mapped datasets were collected between 2010 and 2016.

Findings

As of 2016, a total of 22 International NGOs, 2 international missions (USAID & EU) and 25 Local NGOs also called Saving Groups practitioners were surveyed. The subsequent results showed that as of December 2016 a total of 36,571 saving groups were created. Among the created groups, we had 2 categories of SGs: 3,094 Supervised Groups (SGs that are still being monitored on a regular basis) and 33,450 Graduated Groups (SGs that are independently carrying out their activities).
The total SGs membership was evaluated at 925,294 members with an average of 25.3 members per Saving Group. Females only make 76.9% of the total SGs members while Males make 23.1%. The female predominance is caused by the fact that many projects through which most SGs were formed targeted females financial inclusion.
Most International NGOs that were surveyed use the SAVIX platform which only records the accumulative savings in the current year (in this case 2016) and outstanding loans as of the last quarter of the current year (December 2016). All other practitioners that couldn’t provide data in compliance with the set criteria were omitted and were consequently marked as N/A. As a result, HOPE International & Winrock International SGs do not have any information regarding either Savings or Outstanding Loans.

Surveyed SGs were able to record Rw16 billion ( ~ $19 million) in savings and Rw13 billion (~ $15 million) in outstanding loans as of December 2016.

Infographics

Practitioners

Also called saving groups promoters, practitioners are NGOs (Both international and local) working in the sector of financial inclusion through saving groups. They facilitate the creation of SGs and closely monitor them through financial literacy trainings, technical assistance, etc.

International NGOs

Local NGOs