The Impact of Savings Groups on Children's Wellbeing: A Review of the Literature
April 1, 2015
This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the literature on the impact of community-based savings group (SG) interventions on children’s wellbeing in resource-poor environments. SGs are self-governed groups that combine regular savings deposits into a fund from which loans are issued to group members. These groups are increasingly being used by the international development community to reach the world’s rural poor. The literature included in the review focuses specifically on SGs as an intervention and improvements to children’s wellbeing as an outcome. Some of the key findings of the study include:
As these savings interventions do not engage children and youth directly, the outcomes for children and youth are assumed to result from a number of mediating factors;
While factors such as access to services like healthcare and education, as well as the quality of these services, are key mediating factors, they are generally outside the control of the program;
Sometimes, SGs are coupled with other development programs in an attempt to generate better outcomes for participants and their households;
While most SGs engage caregivers, interest in SGs for youth has grown recently and organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, Freedom From Hunger, and Plan International are implementing youth SGs.