GF’s Solutions for the Poorest announces savings program for world’s poorest people


By Kate Griffin, Director, Grameen Foundation’s Solutions for the Poorest 

There is a common misconception that poor people, especially the very poorest,  can’t save – that they simply don’t have enough money to do so.  Yet, every day, these people are proving us wrong.  They are putting tiny amounts of additional income away – hiding it in their homes, giving it to a neighbor to safekeep, taking part in informal savings clubs that pay out in an established intervals, or buying livestock or jewelry.  

Women at center meeting

All women should have access to microfinance services, like these Fonkoze clients in Haiti.

They know that in order to meet daily needs, or in order to withstand an illness, pay for school fees, and have enough money to buy fertilize for their crops, they will need these sums of money set aside. But these forms are often unreliable – theft can occur, or the neighbor can walk away with your money.  When you need it most, the price of livestock may also be at its lowest.  In order for these poor households to get the most out of their ability to save, they need safe, secure places to save that are conveniently located near their homes.    Today, we are announcing an ambitious Microsavings Initiative, where we will work with three outstanding microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Ethiopia, India, and the Philippines to expand their savings services to 1.45 million poor and very poor households.  We want to ensure that anyone – no matter their income level – has a place to save their small sums of money safely and securely, and to call on them whenever the need arises.
The project is part of our newly launched Solutions for the Poorest (SfP) group, which is working to ensure that the poorest  people have access to financial services and to more reliable business opportunities that help address the vulnerability and volatility of their lives.  We recognize the complicated financial management these households have to juggle and look forward to continuing to find innovative ways to serve them in the future.  Watch this space as we continue to share our stories from this program. 

Kate Druschel Griffin is a microfinance professional with regional experience in Asia.  She currently leads Grameen Foundation Solutions for the Poorest program, which is focused on reaching the world’s poorest people with access to reliable business opportunities and financial management tools.  She has also overseen programs in the Philippines, East Timor, and Indonesia, and led GF’s strategic expansion into China.  She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and is a board member of Women Advancing Microfinance International.  Previously, Kate focused on microfinance policy and poverty measurement tools at the IRIS Center at the University of Maryland.  A Mandarin Chinese speaker, Kate holds an MA in International Development from American University and a BA from Kenyon College.

5 Responses to “GF’s Solutions for the Poorest announces savings program for world’s poorest people”

  1. Christina Archer Says:

    Savings for the very poor is a really good idea. Please send me more information about microsavings.

  2. Jim Jacobson Says:

    Saving and investment is a must to alleviate poverty and encourage entrepreneurs. How can i learn more about your program so i can duplicate in poor villages in Guatemala.

  3. albertus fabrianus Says:

    im from indonesia, and im currently establishing a CU. we still trying to build a program for small traditional market merchant, and poor people. i hope u can share more information bout this program. so we had more learning material to build our programs. thanks before.

  4. Emeka Nwosu Says:

    Micro-savings is the only exit from poverty. will love to replicate the program in poor communities in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. Please how do we collaborate?

  5. Jane Bozman Says:

    Micro-savings, i. e. emergency fund accounts are the way out of poverty. I would support this program but would also like to see it provided for the poor who live in the United States.

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