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Savings Groups Technology Fair



The Savings Groups Technology Fair – a post-conference event hosted by the SEEP Network in partnership with FSD Africa – enabled participants to view and test tools, and connect with leading technology service providers.

A recent market survey conducted by the SEEP Network identified over 20 technologies used by Savings Groups, and the development and market actors that engage with them. These tools include management information systems, mobile applications, information and communications technology, and other audio-visual tools to train and monitor Savings Groups, support and enhance group operations, train and monitor trainers, and deliver complementary financial and non-financial services.

Collectively, these tools have the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of group mobilization and training, the quality of Savings Group operations, and access to information and complementary services by Savings Groups. However, uptake remains low: information about available offerings is not easily accessible to potential users; the ability of technology service providers to reach potential users is limited; and a lack of understanding of the potential benefits, requirements and risks associated with specific technologies restricts their effective adoption.

The purpose of the Savings Groups Technology Fair was to facilitate relationships between technology service providers and potential users, and accelerate the uptake of appropriate technologies.




Aga Khan Foundation

The Aga Khan Foundation has established over 9,200 Savings Groups in southern Tanzania, reaching approximately 180,000 savers. Since 2010, these groups have saved over $60 million and delivered unprecedented access to finance in severely underserved areas of the country – and they continue to grow. However, meetings have developed into a time-consuming and sometimes inefficient routine for some groups, and there are growing concerns about the safety of group cash boxes. 

In 2016, AKF Tanzania – in partnership with Selcom and Bankable Frontier Associates – introduced Digital Savings Groups, a platform through which Savings Groups can channel deposits and loans, manage group decisions, and access group accounts transparently. Digital Savings Groups eliminate the risk of theft, reduce the time required for group meetings, and increase the transparency of group operations.

By the end of the pilot in 2018, the digital product will be transferred to 300 Savings Groups; and AKF aims to the then scale Digital Savings Groups nationwide.

View their Presentation




Chomoka is a smartphone application for Savings Groups – launched by CARE International in 2017 – that improves how meetings are run, unlocks opportunities to access formal banking services, and builds a platform for sustainable support.

By using Chomoka, group records are accurate, transparent and safely backed-up. A marketplace on the app allows groups to view and instantly apply for savings accounts or credit products from partner banks. The digital application reduces a bank’s. Leveraging digital records, credit scores can be calculated for groups, which will lower their risk profile and encourage banks to offer them credit or insurance products. And an extensive database of demographic and financial information can be used by partners to efficiently manage groups and identify key trends.

Chomoka has about 2,500 current users and will be established as a social enterprise by the end of this year; and it aims reach one million users by 2022.

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The Learning Lab at DanChurchAid is a unit dedicated to innovation in capacity development to make training more effective and efficient.

The VSLA Training application is an interactive, digital training, based on the VSL Associates’ Field

Officer Training Guide. The training covers the 7 modules of the VSLA methodology and is structured into two parts. The first part is built around an interactive simulation game, where the learner plays a character who is part of a virtual VSLA group and joins common VSLA activities during the weekly meetings (including loan disbursements, repayments, and the share-out). The second part consists of animated videos that introduce the learner to the VSLA cycle and key information for understanding the VSLA methodology.

Since its launch in March 2017, the app has been downloaded more than 350 times. The DCA Learning Lab provides technical assistance to users of the platform, including translation into local languages.

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DreamStart Labs

DreamStart Labs is a social impact financial technology company – founded in 2017 by two award-winning Silicon Valley entrepreneurs – that develops innovative technology to help women in developing countries achieve their dreams of a better life.

DreamSave is a powerful new mobile technology designed to digitize Savings Groups with unparalleled excellence, impact, and scale. It simplifies record keeping, eliminates errors, helps groups achieve savings goals, builds credit history for members, and helps them connect securely to traditional financial services. For NGOs, DreamSave reduces training costs, improves outcomes, and makes it quick and easy to collect accurate data in real time from all supported groups.

DreamSave was recently awarded the 2017 Vodafone Wireless Innovation Award, which recognizes the most promising new mobile technologies designed for the developing world.

DreamSave is available for free to end users and NGOs, and is supported by banks and other service providers who want to offer approved services to Savings Groups.

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Econet Wireless Zimbabwe

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is the country’s largest provider of telecommunications services, providing solutions in mobile and fixed wireless telephony, public payphones, internet access and payment solutions.

EcoCash Savings Club, launched in 2015, is a mobile product to support Savings Groups across Zimbabwe. It offers groups a more secure, transparent and convenient way to store long-term savings, earn interest on pooled savings, buy airtime, pay for goods and services and much more.

EcoCash Savings Club was recently recognized as the “Best Mobile Innovation for Women in Emerging Markets” at the 2018 Global Mobile (GLOMO) Awards. As Econet makes the service available to all Savings Groups nationwide, it works with non-profit organizations to accelerate uptake, deliver financial education and promote positive savings habits in Zimbabwe.

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orange.png Exuus

Exuus is a technology company registered in Rwanda that inspires resilience and enables communities to achieve their potential. SAVE is a digital platform that empowers Saving Groups and market actors through efficient data collection, visualization, analytics and communication. The platform enables digital transactions between the group account and the mobile wallets of its members; through SAVE Collector, trainers can monitor their groups in real time; data collection and entry costs are eliminated; financial service providers can use SAVE to disburse and collect loans; the Decentralized Credit Scoring Model (DCSM) provides a credit history and rating of all groups; and the dashboard enables policymakers and other stakeholders to monitor trends.

The platform is free for Savings Groups and is offered to stakeholders on a monthly subscription fee starting at $.01 per member.

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IEDc.png IED

Iniciativas Empresariales de Desarrollo (IED) is a Colombian company with more than 10 years of leadership in innovative economic development programming in rural and peri-urban areas, through the largest Savings Group program in the Americas, comprised of over 200,000 members in Colombia, and technical assistance to partners in Bolivia and Mexico.

Plaza Local is a model, developed by IED, for the marketing of agricultural products by Savings Groups and their members, through an interactive platform and web application. Plaza Local provides users access to quality, local agricultural products at fair market prices, that benefits low-income households and smallholder farmers in their region.

Since its launch in three regions of Colombia last year, Plaza Local has a total of 150 active users, including 25 institutional clients. The platform is sustainable – generating a margin of 15-20% on all sales – and may be replicated in other countries at an estimated cost of about $50,000.

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 New-Postbank-logo.png Kenya Post Office Savings Bank 

Kenya Postbank is a government-owned financial institution with over 1.4 million customers who are served through a countrywide network of 99 online branches and over 1,000 outlets through agency arrangements. The Bank has seven products targeting Savings Groups, including M-Chama – a mobile-based, banking solution that replicates the popular ‘chama’ system. The product – developed in partnership with FSD Kenya, CARE International and Catholic Relief Services – is accessible, secure, transparent and affordable for Savings Groups.

M-Chama enables Savings Groups to undertake the following transactions: deposit, withdraw, transfer to accounts; transfer to mobile wallets; check balances; cancel transactions; and provide customer feedback – without visiting the branch.

Postbank currently has 1,490 M-Chama group accounts, comprised of 29,000 individual clients, and the Bank works with various government and development organizations which are involved in group formation and training. By 2019, the Bank intends to recruit 5,000 new groups and 100,000 individual members.

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Based in Senegal, MaTontine is a digital platform that provides access to formal financial services – including credit and insurance – to financially excluded populations by digitizing traditional Savings Groups.

For Savings Groups, MaTontine offers access to formal financial services (including credit, crop insurance, micro-health insurance, group savings and school savings programmes) through our partner financial institutions. For NGOs, we provide an end-to-end, integrated digital platform for them to provide value-added services to their members, instead of traditional delivery channels. For mobile network operators, MaTontine helps them compensate for the ever-decreasing value of voice revenues by showcasing new data-driven services; all payments to and from MaTontine are completed using mobile phones and mobile payment solutions provided by our mobile money partners.

Access is free for Savings Groups, and MaTontine generates revenues through commissions from partner financial service providers that offer their products through our platform. MaTontine has been featured by Al Jazeera and received several awards for its innovative solutions within the financial inclusion and technology industries.

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Media 365 is a proudly Zambian and 75% female-owned company. We implement campaigns for social good, using a design process that creates impact. Our team uses in-depth understanding of social issues and behaviour-change to create content, marketing, branding and strategies with clear and measurable results. Based in Zambia, we have worked with local and global clients in the public, private and non-profit sectors since 2008.

In partnership with Financial Sector Deepening Zambia, Media 365 has developed a range of videos to: deliver critical messages to Savings Groups and strengthen norms in the sector; catalyze peer-to-peer training and the spontaneous replication; and support the training of trainers and groups.

FSDZ uses the videos developed by Media 365 to support its Master Trainer Programme, and train Master Trainers, community-based trainers and groups. Our experience suggests that people assimilate messages better when they receive them from multiple sources, which is why a trainer, in combination with a video, is more impactful than either alone. Our training materials help new members assimilate basic Savings Group principles, promote viral replication at no cost, and ensure greater consistency of messaging from trainers.

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download_(3).png World Relief 

World Relief promotes Savings Groups in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, with a global outreach of over 280,000 members. Our Savings for Life curriculum – which combines the VSLA methodology with the faith-based principles – focuses on promoting better relationships with God, others, oneself, and creation with the goal of holistically changing members – spiritually, socially, economically, and physically.

Savings Groups are trained over a period of about one year and then operate independently, and there is limited long-term monitoring of independent groups due to cost constraints. In 2016, World Relief began utilizing an SMS-based platform, called TextIt to gather longitudinal data on graduated groups, measure their long-term performance and longevity, improve programming, and better communicate impact.

There is no cost to set up a TextIt account; each message sent or received through the platform costs $0.02 and standard SMS rates apply. World Relief provides support to organizations that wish to adopt, adapt and implement the technology in their Savings Groups programming.

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