Savings groups bring more than financial stability: They inspire leaders to change entire communities for Christ.
In savings group programs around the world, HOPE International partners closely with local churches, believing in the lasting impact of equipping the bride of Christ. In 2019, HOPE-managed savings group programs in several countries added new denominational church partners. We’re excited to see the enthusiasm for church-led savings group programs continue to grow and spread throughout these countries.
Poverty takes more than a physical toll; its effects are deeply psychological, emotional, relational, and spiritual. As we serve men and women living in poverty, we see them growing in confidence and self worth—which, in turn, better equips them to lead in their local churches and communities.
I don’t have to go far when I need a Bible teacher, pastor, or parish pastor. Church facilitators … are trained, equipped, and passionate and can work with different people.” Reverend Godfroid, HOPE Rwanda Church Partner
5,759 church facilitators in 2019
Church facilitators, most of whom are volunteers, recruit and train savings groups, providing ongoing mentorship and coaching as groups save and grow together. As a result of their experience and work, facilitators grow into leaders in their churches.
Standing up to lead during a crisis
In Zimbabwe, the arrival of COVID-19 caused significant disruption: People lost jobs as businesses closed, new safety procedures disrupted food supply chains, and banks and markets shuttered. But amid crisis, church facilitators have stepped up to lead their savings groups with creativity and resourcefulness.
The Sungano (“Covenant”) savings group, a group of five children between the ages of 10 and 18, have banded together to begin vegetable gardening. They did this with the prompting and support of their church facilitator who gave them the idea and worked with them. Through their gardening project, these young people have saved money and have accessed loans to pay for their school fees, stationary, uniforms, and food for their families.
Corine, another church facilitator in Zimbabwe, has gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve the savings groups she supports. From providing face masks and gloves to encouraging the disinfecting of coins, Corine has led group members in new practices. Through innovation and care of facilitators like Corine, savings group members can continue to stabilize their incomes, create safety nets in case of emergency, and provide access to capital.
In this midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, local leaders and business owners are helping their communities survive. Your support will allow us to extend grace to entrepreneurs in crisis, creatively support savings groups and church partners, and cover financial losses so our field programs can remain open—and come back stronger to serve families in the months and years to come. Join us!
Featured image: Savings group members lead their savings meeting in Zambia