Depth of Poverty Outreach: Evidence from EFI Savings Group Project
In 2013, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) –with support from Mastercard Foundation –launched the expanding Financial Inclusion in Africa (EFI) project in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia. The goal of EFI was to expand financial service access to vulnerable households to improve their resilience, and do so by creating Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILCs). One goal of the program was to ensure that PSPs recruited villagers into SILC groups who were in the lower half of the income distribution in their village. A second goal of the project was to test various methods for encouraging PSPs to reach even deeper into the villages they served.
The findings summarized in this this paper suggest that EFI was successful in achieving its main goal of targeting villagers who were in the lower half of the income distribution in their villages. But the results varied across the four countries in the project and across the partners within each country. The evidence also suggests that the Pro-Poor Package did not promote greater depth of outreach.