What Oxfam is doing
Through our Saving for Change program, Oxfam helps poor people in Mali, Senegal, El Salvador, Guatemala and Cambodia improve their livelihoods and build a better future by increasing their access to financial services.
- Supporting village groups that act as their own community banks. Savings group members save, lend, and pay each other interest, so they don't need to take on debt from a credit provider, moneylender, or intermediary.
- Providing villagers with a safe place to save and easy access to loans. Villagers can use these loans to start small businesses or buy much-needed supplies for their families.
Joining Saving for Change groups also benefits members in other ways. As more women participate in the program, they gradually change how they think about themselves and their place in their family and village. In Mali, group meetings provide a forum for villagers to learn how to prevent and treat malaria. In Cambodia, Saving for Change participants learn about the System of Rice Intensification, a new way of growing rice that increases productivity while decreasing the use of pesticides and harmful chemicals.
Success by the numbers
Since Saving for Change was launched in April 2005, more than 560,000 poor women and men in five countries have joined savings and lending groups. Their savings add up to over $11.3 million so far—and the program continues to grow.
|Country||Groups||Members||Cumulative Savings (US$)|
Keeping costs low
The process of forming new groups begins in the villages, where local agents and leaders train savings groups in their own communities and then travel to nearby villages to teach others how to start saving. This self-replicating approach keeps costs down and makes it easy for new groups to form.
How much does it cost?
- One member: $20
- One group of 20 members: $400
- One village of four groups: $1,600
- 625 villages, 2,500 groups, 50,000 group members: $1 million