Country: Solomon Islands
Partner: World Vision
Product: Enhanced Savings Clubs Pilot
Date: June 2015 — June 2019
Grant: USD $61,217
Target: 1,825 members with a minimum of 50% female membership
Current Reach: 1,489 members, 56% female (as of 31st March 2017)
The Solomon Islands is one of the most unbanked countries in the Pacific region. The advent of mobile and branchless banking is gradually changing the financial landscape, however, rural areas in the country continue to lack adequate and appropriate access to financial services and the proportion of people in rural areas without financial services is still very high. Low literacy, travel costs and mobile network coverage are major inhibiting factors for people gaining access to financial services. Rural South Malaita is the most populated area in its province, however, nearly 100% of the population is unbanked due to a complete absence of financial access.
Against this backdrop, savings clubs are seen as effective providers of basic financial services such as savings, withdrawals and loans to rural villagers, especially women. The promotion of Community Savings and Loans Groups (CSLG) in South Malaita introduces basic financial services to low-income households in this extremely rural community. Small groups of 20 to 30 people (often women) in villages form savings clubs, with the goal of incrementally saving small sums of money for the future. Members provide each other with support, while building their social capital, and additionally can also borrow money from the club, repaying their loan with interest.
For rural communities such as Malaita, where access to formal financial services is expected to take several years, savings clubs provide an ideal transition model to meet communities’ financial needs: first through informal, then through more formal financial systems.
Numerous savings clubs have failed in the Solomon Islands due to the inability to balance their books, and/or effectively govern withdrawal transactions. In order to achieve informal financial inclusion for members, savings clubs must be sustainable and mutually beneficial to all members.
To address these issues, CSLG methodology was modified and aligned with the principles and embraced a best practices methodology recommended by PFIP. The PFIP-sponsored World Vision Solomon Islands’ (WVSI) community economic development approach includes supporting community-based CSLG facilitators who train, provide information and support to members to sustain CSLGs with the support of WVSI technical staff.
This WVSI pilot targets extremely low income households with low levels of literacy and numeracy in remote rural communities of South Malaita, with the possibility for future expansion. In addition, the pilot aims to demonstrate the long-term sustainability of the consolidated model savings clubs by addressing reasons for failure.
About World Vision Solomon Islands
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by Christian values, they are dedicated to working with the world’s most vulnerable people – regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
World Vision Solomon Islands (WVSI) is one of the largest and most experienced non-government agencies in the Solomon Islands. World Vision has worked in the Solomon Islands for the past 30 years and currently employs nearly 200 staff. Under its Community Development Program, WVSI had been implementing a Community Savings and Loans Groups (CSLG) model in five provinces including Guadalcanal, Makira-Ulawa, Malaita, Temotu, Central and the capital Honiara targeting the most vulnerable members of the communities such as women, youths, children, and the disabled.
More at : http://www.wvi.org/