Archives For savings groups

They work without contracts or the protection of labor laws. They drive taxis, sell vegetables, clean homes, take odd jobs in construction, collect garbage, and work in food services. Part of the informal sector, they nevertheless provide vital services around the world.

They are day laborers—women and men who depend on daily wages to feed their children that night. Day laborers take jobs as they find them, relentlessly pursuing employment to provide for their families. The BBC News reports that “most do not have access to pensions, sick leave, paid leave or any kind of insurance. Many do not have bank accounts, relying on cash to meet their daily needs.”

Not surprising then, in the wake of COVID-19 and economic shutdown, it is the day laborers who suffer the most. In a crisis, they are the most vulnerable, the most exposed—without safety nets or savings to fall back on. Continue Reading…

by Colton Parks, Communications Fellow (HOPE Rwanda)

Everyone has their way of describing the unique times we find ourselves in today. For me, like many, the word is uncertain.

Uncertainty underlies my thoughts about job security, schools re-opening, the timeline for the virus spread to wane, the stock market, and a host of other facets of life I previously took for granted. I feel uncertain about what this pandemic means, and that feeling is present when I fall asleep, and it’s there when I wake up.

A few months ago, I was in a village called Mugina, visiting savings group members and hearing their stories. My third interview of the day was with a woman named Speciose. After greeting us, she guided us gently down a hill to her home, a small building nestled in the shadow of a much larger structure that was without a roof. The larger, open-air home stood empty, a shell of a house, exposed to the rain and wind. Almost a year before, a storm had pried off the entire roof and sent it flying, and the smaller house had served as a temporary shelter for Speciose and her husband ever since. Continue Reading…

by Robert Gonza, Quality Assurance Officer (HOPE Rwanda)

When I started working with HOPE Rwanda, I didn’t know if I believed in savings groups.

My job in quality assurance includes interacting with our field partner staff, training them about quality assurance processes like reporting documents, attending monthly mentoring meetings, and visiting and encouraging saving groups. I enjoyed my job and my team, but I was not always very sure how savings groups were transforming people’s lives.

Almost anyone you ask at HOPE Rwanda will be quick to share the statistics of how the saving groups are transforming lives—how many families we serve, how much they’ve saved, the number of cows, goats, and pigs they’ve purchased with their savings. Three years later, I now myself could share all these things. And I thought that the numbers were the most important things about these savings groups.

But I was wrong. They are about way more than just the savings, the number of loans, or those who attended the meeting—or pigs or cows. Continue Reading…

For years, Mary Msoni sorted through bundles of donated secondhand clothing in Lusaka, Zambia, to resell for a slim margin. Hoping to expand, she started selling new dresses, but her household expenses still left her with little money to invest in her business. Her only options for capital were loan sharks who charged exorbitant interest rates. Continue Reading…

Life in Haiti hasn’t been easy for a long time. More than half the population lives on less than $2.40 a month, while wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a select few. For the last several months, government corruption, fuel shortages, spiraling inflation, contaminated drinking water, and food scarcity have caused many Haitians to rise up in protest against a government that has been largely deaf to their cries. These protests are making international headlines. Continue Reading…

by Jeff Rutt, Founder & Board Chair, HOPE International; Founder & CEO, Keystone Custom Homes

As a homebuilder by trade, I’ve been privileged to walk alongside thousands of families in the homeownership process. When I met Rosalie in the small city of Tagatay, Philippines—where I traveled to witness the work of HOPE’s partner, the Center for Community Transformation (CCT)—it wasn’t the first time I saw someone moved to tears by the idea of owning a home. But Rosalie’s tears were different. Continue Reading…