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EXPERIENCES FROM THE FIELD

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Organization(s) sponsoring the project:
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Created By:hhwang1No presence information
Published:12/18/2012 8:50 AM
Primary Contact:
Country:India; Philippines
Project dates:
November 2009 to present
Project Stage:Ongoing activities
Geographic Coveraget:National
Interventions:Access to Finance; Skills and Training
Target Population:Lowest Income; Rural; Vulnerable; Women
Grameen Foundation Microsavings Project
  
Impact of project:
Impact evaluation in progress
Project Description:
The poor lead very unpredictable financial lives. Their income arrives in irregular increments and they struggle to build assets, leaving them vulnerable to financial shock. However, more one-third of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack access to financial services, including a savings account. For poor households, especially those living on less than $2.50 per day, formal savings accounts are essential for creating stability and for moving out of poverty. Grameen Foundation’s Microsavings Initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, works in partnership with local financial institutions in the Philippines and India to build savings products that meet the unique needs of the poor, delivering the products through innovative channels that are sustainable for the client and the institutions that serve them. The main features of the project and Grameen Foundation’s work are: 1. Client-centered approach--We use market research, ethnographic approaches and data analytics to understand different segments of the poor population, and define the needs and requirements of each segment. 2. Product design--We design and scale financial tools to meet the needs of the poor, ensuring that these tools are more accessible, affordable, appropriate and transparent. 3. Channel innovation--To drive innovation around delivery models and channels to the poor, we leverage a unique model that combines the mobile phone and trusted intermediaries at the local level. 4. Business Models--We establish business models at the provider level, including integration of new products into business processes, change management, and measurement
Why this project is a Good Practice example:
Though the program is designed to build and provide savings products to the poor that meet their unique needs, as well as deliver the products through innovative channels that are sustainable for the client and the institutions that serve them, the project is also helping improve job opportunities in a unique way.

For example, the project in India is using the Business Correspondent model to provide savings services to the poor. This is a unique model where banks provide financial services to the poor using correspondents, or companies or individuals who work with the poor as agents of the banks. This model has allowed the banks to reach out to the poor.
For example, by providing an avenue to save, the project is helping the poor accumulate the very important micro capital that they can use for entrepreneual income generation activity or invest in their current income activity. This leads to better income generation, as well as employment opportunities for them and the people around them.

Hence this is a win-win situation for the poor. Not only are they able to get access to financial services, the access to these savings services will also expectedly lead to improvement in employment opportunities to serve their own communities and therefore, increasing their incomes at the same time.
Impact Evaluation:
Lessons Learned:
Lessons About Product Design
1. Client Centered Approach: The poor are NOT a homogeneous group, so we need new products based on a market segmentation approach. 
2. Provider and client interests may not always align: We, therefore, need to develop and apply codes of conduct and redefine sustainability.

Lessons About Project Implementation
1. Output vs. Outcomes: We cannot assume people are benefitting from our services simply because they are using them. We need to measure benefits to clients. People or entities that have a vested interest need to be engaged in active dialogue.
2. Small day-to-day issues require just as much attention as overall strategic issues: For example, we simplified the process of tracking forms, which was very complicated and caused delays, by using software that tracked the status. This helped reduce the time spent entering client information and increased accountability, and ultimately improved the overall success of the project. This was particularly important as a client’s first experience is critical in establishing their long term association with the project.
3. Implementation is as much about change management as it is about rolling out new processes: Many of the stakeholders need to be brought on board to support the project and it is very important to engage them and train them for the roles they will be paying in the roll out and implementation stages.
 
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Comments

Edem says
Attn, Dear, I have contacted you to assist in recovering the fund valued at $11.300,000 left behind by my late client in his account before he died of the gas explosion, get back to me for more details regarding this fund as it deposited in a bank here in Togo. Best Regard Barr,Dr. Edem Austin Edem ESQ LLB edemedemesqtg20001@outlook.com
 on  5/15/2015 10:05:20 AM  

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