Formalising Informality: Savings Groups, Community Finance and the Role of FSD Kenya
Evidence from the field about how to apply the market facilitation approach in practice remains fairly limited and is often poorly documented. Despite some good examples,1 there is a general dearth of material that captures which interventions work, which do not, and why. Accordingly, there remain important unanswered questions, such as: How to balance pressure for short-term results with slow-burn market development activities? What does effective communication and measurement look like, and what can it achieve? What attributes do successful market facilitators possess? How does crowding in and replication take place in practice? How and when do market facilitators look to exit? How is it best to select, engage and work with partners? What to measure, when and why?
This case study process emerged as a response to this challenge – a desire to learn more about the art of market facilitation in the field. In June 2015, FSD Africa commissioned the Springfield Centre to produce: a) one comprehensive case study of FSD Kenya – a financial market facilitation agency in Nairobi, Kenya; and b) six mini-case studies of financial market facilitation interventions from the wider FSD Network, by the FinMark Trust, FSD Kenya, FSD Tanzania and FSD Zambia.
This particular case study looks at the efforts FSD Kenya has made to strengthen semi-formal rural delivery channels and build linkages with formal financial service providers through savings groups. It also considers the extent to which FSD Kenya’s strategy and approach governing the support to savings groups was consistent with basic M4P principles as codified in the “The Operational Guide for the Making Markets Work for the Poor Approach.”
Taken together, we hope that these case studies (as part of the Case Study Series: The Art of Financial Market Facilitation) contribute useful learning to the theorists and practitioners that work in the field of ‘making markets work for the poor’, and beyond. For FSD Africa, the case study material will be put to immediate use in the FSD Academy M4P course – a five-day training programme for staff from the FSD Network and beyond.