Self-Replication of Savings Groups in Western Kenya

Self-Replication of Savings Groups in Western Kenya

FSD Kenya has just published a short study of savings groups created under the Community Savings and Loans (COSALO I) project, funded by FSD Kenya and implemented by CARE International in Kenya. The survey was conducted in September 2011 among 54 groups representatively selected from about 2,500 groups. 

Among the key findings was that replication was the norm, with the average group creating nearly two additional groups in the 14 months since the project ended. Three quarters of all groups had replicated.

The most important drivers of group creation in the sample were:


  • Members of existing groups creating new groups,often by upgrading an existing ROSCA.
  • Clusters of COSALO groups bringing new groups into their cluster.
  • CBTs creating new groups on a fee-for-service basis.


Given that the number of groups far outweigh the number of CBTs, group- driven replication was by far the dominant mode of post-project group formation. For every group visited, more than 2 new groups had been formed by members. Although CBTs had also created new groups after the project ended, they were much less productive: in fact, they only created one new group for every 10 COSALO groups they had worked with during the project. The difference in productivity is enough to suggest the need to re-think the current SG model in relation to the post-project role of CBTs, in favor of appropriate tools for groups to drive the replication process through members as the primary channel of replication.

There is much much more in the full study, which can be downloaded here. I invite you to read it and I look forward to your comments! 

Please check out other FSD Kenya publications on our website.


Reader Comments (2)

A few thoughts/observations or questions that went through my mind as i read the first few pages
- sample size - isnt that too small a proportion
- was it established if these were trully new groups with new mebership or old mebership in new groups?
- what preparatory processes and structures were put in place when the project existed for either CBTs or groups to continue forming groups at the end of the project?
- what challenges were faced by CBTs in productivity? and what incentives did groups have for the high productivity?
- what aspects of group quality were reviewed if at all?
- what implications would the project design and implementation have had on the results?
- are there other areas with longer periods after end of project that have had similar or different experiences? and would there be other organizations with similar or different experiences?

may be the naswers are in here will read and see

Fri, March 23, 2012 | undignified

Thanks for your questions. I encourage you to read the detailed report as it contains answers to some of your questions. My responses are:
1. Sample size - it might well be that it is small but it does give a pretty good indication of the reality on the ground. The groups were representatively selected and yielded the results in the report. As the report indicates, the results are not conclusive, but they are very indicative of the what is happening. The study also informed other studies that FSD Kenya is undertaking that will provide additional information in the future - so make sure you check out future updates.
2. Yes it was established that these groups were NOT undertaking savings and credit activities before they interacted with the project trained groups. The longer report indicates that some members are also in the new Savings Groups (SGs) and some were doing something else and then started savings and credit once they interacted with the COSALO groups. 
3. There were no processes or structures in place to support post project replication - the longer study report has more on this. However, the CBTs were allowed to charge groups for their services towards the end of the project - this was not part of the project design.
4. CBT productivity was hampered mainly by the fact that groups were previously used to free services and no preparatory work had prepared the community for fee-for-service. For groups, the incentive was mainly the model (and benefits of being in SGs) were very clear for those who were not in groups and so there was an attraction to join/form groups practising savings and loans.
5. Group quality aspects - these are clearly outlined in the brief and detailed reports.
6. Implication for project design and implementation - also addressed in the brief and detailed reports.
7. Other areas with longer periods after end of project that have had similar or different experiences - I am not aware of other similar studies, projects or organizations that have undertaken a similar exercise - would be happy to be informed of some.

Thanks once again for your interest in this.


Fri, March 23, 2012 | Kuria


NB: originally published March 2012, and republished with a later date to move it closer to the top. This is still VERY relevant, I've come to think that it is a bit scandalous that no one has put ANY attention in encouraging and supporting group-to-group expansion, and all the effort and money has gone into have agencies form groups. I think just a bit of help can make G2G quality MUCH better, and produce vastly better cost-benefits, than putting more money into INGOs. Please see the articles on Video Training. 

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