This learning paper highlights guiding notes for linking SHGs to Financial Service Providers. The learnings are rooted in field research in Ethiopia, with some surprising findings on member behavior, and are applicable not only to SHGs, but also to SGs and other similar initiatives:
Be aware of opportunities to link SHGs and FSPs but do not deny limitations, risks and challenges
Linkage requires well operating SHGs, well governed SHG structures and support from SHG promoting agency
Provide loans to SHGs and to individual SHG members and not to FLA or CLAs
Linkage requires an FSP with capacity to deliver responsible financial services adapted to SHGs
Invest in building partnership between stakeholders
Invest in market research and product development involving stakeholders
*Further guidance and insights under each principle are detailed in the paper.