This study of savings groups (SG) was conducted in Tanzania in 2017. Commissioned by the Savings at the Frontier (SatF) programme (a partnership between Mastercard Foundation and Oxford Policy Management) and Financial Sector Deepening Tanzania (FSDT), it was carried out by Development Pioneer Consultants (DPC), a Tanzanian firm, in collaboration with SG expert Paul Rippey.
Objective and research questions
The objective of the research was to identify the potential for linkages of SGs to formal financial service providers (FSPs) based on the needs, preferences, and usage of SGs in Tanzania, and to explore the potential for sustainable commercial relationships between FSPs and SGs. The research addressed four clusters of questions: the potential market for FSPs among groups and their members; the products and services used, and desired, by groups and their members; external factors that can have an effect (positive or negative) on FSP-group relations; and questions around the implementation of programmes including the perception of FSPs by members, various partners, and entry points.
The study consisted of an initial literature review to identify gaps in knowledge, followed by field research in four regions of Tanzania: Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Iringa, and Singida. The field work involved visits to 505 households (HHs) divided among the four regions to ask about SG membership in the HH. This exercise identified 617 members. Of these, 216 users were chosen at random to participate in an extensive interview concerning their personal activities and situation, their group, and their relations, attitude, and desires vis-à-vis FSPs. In addition, the researchers conducted 24 focus group discussions (FGDs) with informal financial groups (IFGs), and 30 key informant interviews (KIIs) with Community Development Officers (CDOs), group chairpersons, and representatives of NGOs and apex bodies active in providing formation, training and support to SGs.
The study's mixed methods approach, incorporating insights on the research design and findings from key stakeholders, has produced a set of findings which will contribute to the growing evidence base on how best to develop mutually beneficial relationships between FSPs and SGs. Please note, however, that the study's size and scope were limited, and its research procedures (including no night-time interviews and no call-backs) biased the sample in favour of female respondents. The study should, therefore, be considered along with other more detailed sources of information, including FinScope Tanzania 2017.