Host: The World Bank
9:00 - 10:30 am EST
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Savings Groups are one of the most widespread community development initiatives worldwide. In Africa, there are about 20 million active members in Savings Groups, supported by hundreds of local and international development organizations; and a recent study identified 74 public policies and programs related to Savings Groups, across 20 countries.
These groups mobilize financial resources and social capital in marginalized communities; and experience demonstrates they are at the frontlines of the local response to crisis, including the COVID pandemic.
And yet, Savings Groups remain a largely underutilized platform for local economic development.
Join us for a discussion with the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE, Hand in Hand International, the International Rescue Committee and World Vision on leveraging Savings Groups as a platform for local economic development in Africa.
This webinar is hosted by the World Bank, within its Local Economic Development Learning Series.
Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
As Senior Program Officer on the Gender Equality team at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sybil Chidiac is responsible for developing and leading the Women’s Empowerment Collectives strategy with a focus on advancing women’s economic empowerment outcomes across Africa. Throughout her career, Sybil's work has focused on generating evidence and new models that inform a broad understanding of savings groups as a platform for social change as well as policies that drive recognition and engagement with the formal financial sector. Sybil has worked in partnership with government, banks, and fintech actors to catalyze new mechanisms and innovate digitally enabled products and services that reach the women members. Sybil holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and French from Emory University, a Master of Science degree in International Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University, and a certificate in Strategic Leadership in Microfinance from Harvard Business School. Over the past 15 years, she has worked in over 20 African countries including developing and emerging markets.
Helene Monika Carlsson Rex
Practice Manager, Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice, The World Bank
Helene, a Swedish national, joined the Bank in 2001 in the Poverty Reduction & Economic Management Network as a Gender Specialist. She has since worked in East Asia and the Pacific and the Africa region. Her most recent assignment was SD/INF Program Leader for AFCE2. As a Practice Manager based in Nairobi, Helene supports the delivery of the Africa pipeline and implementation of the portfolio by ensuring high quality and efficient services to task teams and clients on ESF/safeguards, gender, and citizen engagement; and, develop the operational and analytical program for Social Development with special emphasis on social resilience, inclusion, empowerment and social accountability, with special attention to fragile and conflict-affected environments.
Chief Operations Officer, Eastern Africa, Hand in Hand International
Japheth Muli is Chief Operations Officer and Head of Programmes at Hand in Hand Eastern Africa, a member of the Hand in Hand Global Network pursuing the shared goal of helping women beat the odds and succeed as entrepreneurs, lifting their families and their communities out of poverty. With 14 years’ experience managing projects in areas ranging from microfinance and livelihoods to agriculture and resilience building, he is responsible for Hand in Hand Eastern Africa’s large, complex portfolio of development programs in 27 counties in Kenya, in addition to leading organisation’s credit strategy refresh, bringing creative financial solutions to Hand in Hand Eastern Africa’s 300,000-strong membership. Japheth is studying for his PhD in Business Administration, Strategic Management at Machakos University and has an MA in Business Administration, Strategic Management and Leadership from St. Paul’s University Kenya. He was the Horn of Africa co-ordinator for ALNAP’s Emergency Capacity Building ‘Towards Resilience’ project, and in 2019 published a paper on ‘Social Entrepreneurship: Sustainability and Social Impact by not-for-profits: Theory and Evidence’.
Senior Advisor, External Engagement & Savings Groups, World Vision
Angeline Munzara is the Livelihoods Senior External Engagement Advisor and Savings for Transformation Project Model Lead for World Vision International. Under her leadership, World Vision has supported 54,400 Savings for Transformation (S4T) groups in 34 countries with 1.3 million members (80 percent of whom are women). Angeline holds a Bachelor of Laws Honors (LLBS) and a Masters in International Relations and has over 15 years of development experience working with non-governmental organisations at the national, regional (SADC) and international levels. She is the current Global Chair for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Compliance Committee (2019-2021). She recently published a book: "Faith that Breaks Storms': http://angiechawira.co.za/
Program Director, Savings Groups, The SEEP Network
David leads the SEEP Network’s practice area in Savings Groups, and a portfolio of learning initiatives to improve standards of practice, mobilize knowledge and strengthen partnerships in the sector. Previously, David led the development of Savings Group programs in 19 countries, reaching approximately one million members – working with the Aga Khan Foundation, DFID, Plan International, Mercy Corps, VSL Associates, World Vision and over one hundred local NGOs. He has a Master’s in Economics from McGill University and is fluent in English, French and Spanish.
Senior Advisor, Women Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition, CARE International
As Senior Advisor, Women Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition, Aisha currently supports CARE’s participation in the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights. Before that, she acted as CARE Regional Advocacy Coordinator in West Africa, supporting the implementation of Women on the Move, an initiative that aims to scale up Savings Groups in West Africa trough partnership and advocacy with governments. In this role she engaged closely with governments, regional institutions, and women rights organisations to advance the adoption and implementation of Savings Groups by government institutions through financial inclusion, gender and social protection policies.
She is the co-author of the recent state of practice report on Savings Groups and the Role of Government in Sub-Saharan Africa and served as co-facilitator of the SEEP Network’s Peer Learning Group on The Role of Savings Groups in Supporting Graduation from Social Safety Nets. Prior to joining CARE, Aisha worked on child rights and women rights advocacy with several NGOs (Defence for Children International, International Federation for Human Rights and the International Catholic Child Bureau). She also advocated for the promotion and protection of women rights as part of the team of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.
Practice Manager, Food & Agriculture Global Practice, The World Bank
As a Practice Manager, Shobha covers Eastern and Southern Africa and oversees a portfolio of agriculture and rural development projects and analytic work of over US$2 billion. From 2012-2018, she served in a similar position in the South Asia region based in the World Bank office in New Delhi. Her current work and interests span agribusiness development, women’s economic empowerment, disruptive Technology, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, urban food systems, rural youth employment, and climate resilience. In 2015 she was a Visiting Fellow at the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (TCi) at Cornell University, New York. She has previously worked in the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Tunisia, Syria, Saudi Arabia on a wide range of issues of agriculture and rural development. Shobha has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Anna University, India. She earned her Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University, USA.
Brian Ssebunya (Ph.D)
Senior Technical Advisor, Enterprise Development and Employment, International Rescue Committee
Based at the IRC Hub in Nairobi, Brian has over 15 years’ experiences with market systems and private sector development in emergency, recovery and development contexts in Africa and the Middle East. Brian supports IRC’s urban livelihoods projects in East Africa, focused on skills development, entrepreneurship and financial inclusion of urban refugees, as well as new delivery models for IRC’s urban refugee livelihoods programming globally. Brian holds a PhD in Social and Economic Sciences from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), in Austria.
Senior Projects Officer, Kenya Post Office Savings Bank
As a Senior Projects Officer at KPOSB, Mr. Ocharo coordinates various business and ICT projects. He has 13 years’ experience in the banking industry, six of which have been with Savings Groups. He has contributed to building business models that enable banks can reach the unbanked and underbanked, with a specific focus on women and youth. Mr. Ocharo has a deep understanding of the role of savings groups in economic and social empowerment; and he has hands-on experience in partnerships management, agency banking and the role of mobile technology in service delivery. Mr. Ocharo holds degrees in entrepreneurship and public relations.
This webinar is hosted by the World Bank,
in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the SEEP Network