CARE Kenya's Nelly Otieno and GSL beneficiary Beatrice Wandiga at the Conference
Nelly Otieno, the GS&L Sector Manager was one of the Keynote speakers on a panel about Savings Groups and Financial Inclusion at the 2013 Savings Group Conference ??Expanding Financial Inclusion and Development??, held March 4-5 in Arlington, Virginia, USA. Bill Grant, Global Lead for Inclusive Economic Growth, opened the plenary with a historical perspective on savings groups and their role in rural development.
The conference focused on financial inclusion as a way of moving the Savings Group movement to address emerging issues. The conferenced show-cased programs that various organizations are implementing to address financial inclusion. This included CARE Kenya?s Women Enterprise Development, Bank Linkage and Banking on change initiatives. Other organizations also presented various Micro enterprise development, Value chain as well as Youth and Children?s savings groups. Addressing the conference, Nelly explained that although SGs have played a big role in reducing financial exclusion, a lot still needs to be done in terms of holistically addressing financial challenges of the poor. She explained that initiating a path to full financial inclusion will involve developing other products or add-ons like micro insurance, linkage to financial institutions, business skills and financial education training to help in establishing and managing micro-enterprises. She concluded by explaining how CARE Kenya has tried to address Financial Inclusion by linkages to formal financial institutions (Barclays and Equity Bank initiatives) and working as an intermediary between banks and communities to develop appropriate savings, credit and mobile cash transfer products for the GS&L groups in Kenya.
CARE Kenya's Silvester K'obare and MasterCard Foundation's Prabhat Labh at the Conference
CARE Kenya?s GS&L work was also presented in the thematic programming and research sessions. These were Bank Linkage work on development of savings, credit and mobile cash transfer and COSALO?s research on MESO level impacts of GS&L on participants. One area that CARE Kenya scored so highly was the involvement of community participants in linkage products development.
The SG2013 Conference hosted more than 300 attendees from bilateral and multilateral agencies, donors, financial service providers, foundations, international and local non-governmental organizations. This year?s conference showcased 35 sessions and 54 speakers from all over the world with a special focus on integrating savings groups into other development programs. CARE Kenya was represented by Nelly Otieno, Silvester Kobare and a community partner, Beatrice Wandiga (Chairperson of Nyan?goma women group participating in the Bank Linkage Project).
The 2013 Saving Group (SG) Conference was held in Arlington City, Virginia, USA. It was sponsored by Melinda Gates Foundation and Mastercard Foundation and organized by Oxfam America. It was supported by Small Enterprise Education and Promotion Network (SEEP Network) and an advisory committee including representatives of the Aga Khan Foundation, CGAP, PLAN International, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as CARE, Catholic Relief Services and Freedom from Hunger.