Savings Groups Podcasts

These podcasts are all recent interviews with the folks who do the real work of providing financial services to people in countries around the world. Thanks to everyone who agreed to be interviewed.

Also, thanks to Pete Seeger who let us use his song “Arrange and Rearrange”, available on iTunes, which Pete wrote a few years ago when he was 89…

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Ahmed Omar

Ahmed Omar is the director and co-founder of the Boma project in Marsabet Kenya. The project works with pastoralists who are hard hit by a changing climate, and who have in many cases started getting food aid. Ahmed and the project want to restore self-sufficiency by weening people off of handouts and into savings. Have a listen!

The Boma Project has a partner in the US - check out the great pictures on their website

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Allan Odera

Allan Odera is the Programme Manager for CARE’s COSALO 2 programme in Western Kenya. CARE Kenya has been an innovator in looking for ways to become more efficient and lower their cost per member. They do this because they have the very real objective of offering the opportunity of being in a savings group to every adult in Kenya - and when you talk about covering every part of a country of 43 million people, you have to be efficient! Allan says that COSALO already has a cost per member of seven dollars, and they intend to finish the program even lower. 

Allan talks about some of CARE’s innovations in this podcast interview. Enjoy! 


Bahati William

Bahati William is a member of CARE Rwanda’s VSL Technical unit, and he is the Field Supervisor in charge of solar lamp sales. CARE is selling solar lamps through their village agents - the project is young, but it seems to be off to a good start. 

Bahati explains how the system is working, and about the incentive system, and about the challenges the program is facing.

L'interview est aussi disponible en français.


Edith Banzi

Edith Banzi organized a Tanzanian NGO that was promoting Vicoba’s, a local brand of savings group that puts an emphasis on adding other activities to the core financial activities of the group. She is still involved with the NGO, but now she is working for Illumination Solar, a firm that makes small solar lamps. I’m very impressed with Illumination lamps - they are solid reliable products that give a lot of light, and are super affordable. 

Edith talks about the lamps, and about her amazing success marketing them through savings groups. I love it that she gives the wholesale price reduction if everyone in the group buys a lamp - talk about social pressure!

I failed to take Edith’s picture so instead here’s a picture of one of her groups with their lamps!

Erisa Mutabasi

Erisa Mutabazi is Country Director of Hope International in Rwanda. I was delighted to discover his programme - Hope International is working through networks of churches to form savings groups - both ASCAs and ROSCAs - and in four years has put 124,600 people in groups. Church networks are an incredible resource.

Hope International integrates worship into their meetings along with savings. I find all this very exciting. 

George Mukasa Mukisa

George Mukasa Mukisa is the Programme Officer of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU). NUDIPU forms savings groups for people with disabilities, but is careful to include persons without disabilities in the groups, to avoid stigma and separation. 

George talks about NUDIPU and their approach in this interview. I love what they are doing. 

Luckshmi Sivalingam

Luckshmi Sivalingam now works with DAI as a development specialist for agriculture, livelihoods and food security. In this interview, she shares with us about work she did in Bihar India a couple of years ago with Grameen Foundation, working with the poorest of the poor, including women who are so disenfranchised they have to ask their husbands their name.


Naeem Razwani

Naeem Razwani is the Manager of Product Development and Marketing at the First MicroFinance Bank of Afghanistan. It was a real pleasure to spend time exchanging ideas with him. He understands the double bottom line as well as anyone I know.

I normally get protective of savings groups when I see formal financial institutions hovering around them, but Naeem brings the right mixture of heart and mind to bank-savings group relations, and knows the long term interest of the client is what counts. 

Patricia Pulido

Patricia Pulido is working as a volunteer with ACAF in Italy, forming savings groups among immigrants and among others who for whatever reason do not fit easily into the banking system. 

She’s also doing great work in Uganda, but we didn’t get around to talking about that.

Patricia talks about ACAF and her work in Italy in this interview - there’s an English version here, as well as a Spanish version.

La entrevista también está disponible en español.

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Rew Revealed Kataru

Rew Revealed Kataruis the Programme Manager for the Community Based Savings Group component of the Coastal Rural Support Programme of the Aga Khan Foundation in Tanzania. I knew Revealed in Uganda, and she had an outstanding grasp of what makes Savings Groups work. In this interview, she talks about the CRSP, and about what motivates village agents. 

The interview took place at the quietest place we could find at the Dar es Salaam airport - outside in the traffic and the wind! Sorry for the background noise.

Silvester Kobare

Silvester Kobare is CARE Kenya’s Programme coordinator for the Group Savings and Loans Sector. In this podcast, (recorded at the busy Westgate Mall in Nairobi) Silvester shares about CARE’s experiment in linking savings groups to Equity Bank, via Orange phones. 

It’s an interesting experiment, and it’s not over yet!