SGs in Europe and North America
Savings Groups in Europe and North America
The idea of community-managed savings-led groups has broad appeal, including to people who have plenty of access to other kinds of financial services. While Savings Groups have been promoted mostly in the developing world, there is a growing movement to make them available to people in “the North”, that is, the industrialized countries of Europe and North America and elsewhere.
The Northern Lights page is designed to help you follow and contribute to that movement.
We’ll tell you all we know about. Please help this be complete by sharing things that you know about, that you don’t find mentioned here. Write to Northern Lights here.
Here are leading efforts - some underway, some just planned.
ACAF, the Association for Self-Financed Communities, is based in Barcelona and has been starting savings groups largely among immigrants, initially in Catalonia, and now throughout Spain and in eight European countries. Visit their website, in Spanish, or check out this description in English. And see this delightful video from an Italian savings group on Savings Revolution. Contact Abdoulaye Fall in Spain, and Patricia Pulido in Italy.
Building Bridges to Wealth, a project of the Wharton School, combines intensive training and support for inner city youth and adults in Philadelphia, with membership in either a savings or an investment club. Check out their site, or contact the director, Keith Weigelt or Stacy Franks.
ASAP has established locally registered, self-sustaining organizations in Zimbabwe and Malawi continue to implement savings clubs projects. In the US, ASAP is working to integrate savings clubs into existing poverty alleviation and workforce development efforts in Georgia through collaboration with the Inner Agency Family Council and through ASAP’s Tools for Empowerment project partnership with The Salesian Missions of Don Bosco. See their site, or contact Tom Arsenault, or Elizabeth Bara.
Puddles, an on-line savings group mechanism, is founded by Jean Claude Rodriguez-Ferrera, who also founded ACAF. See Jean Claude’s blog post about Puddles on Savings Revolution. Puddles is in the testing phase, and membership is by invitation, but you can write to Jean Claude directly and ask to be invited!
Savings Revolution’s founders, Paul Rippey and Kim Wilson, are forming Northern groups. Kim invites her students in her international development classes constitute ASCAs for the duration of the class, and Paul has formed a first group in Portland Oregon, which is written up in his blog post here, that features a video of the members introducing themselves. The group is distinctive for having the rotating post of Abundance Officer, in charge of keeping the distinction Abundance present among the members.
Eloisa Devietti is working with Mary Dupont to form an initial group in Delaware.
Jeff Ashe is interested in introducing the Savings Group idea to existing ROSCA’s in the US immigrant community, and going on from there to like members with formal institutions, and use their membership history with savings group to build up a credit rating.
And there are more things that we keep hearing about. We’ll keep this page updated as we get more information.
Are you interested in being a Northern Light, and forming savings groups in Europe or the US? We are all experimenting, but generally, the experiments are going well. We encourage you to get in touch with any of the people here, or just write directly to Northern Lights, and we’ll help you get started!