RE: Refugees/IDPs and Savings Groups

Reply on DGroups | 10 comments

05 Aug 2019, 3:01 p.m.

Barack Kinanga

Dear Sarah,
Have you considered that most of the time when people are displaced from one point, they tend 
to move and settle in new dwellings in the same groupings? Therefore there is still a possibility that these people are able to save together. I remember, in 2014 in South Sudan, SCI and CRS had a saving program  called SILC under a USAID MYAP called JFSP. It was observed  those families that were in engaged in this saving Scheme, and that were displaced from Bor to Minkman across the River Nile in the Lakes state continued to save in solidarity and it was actually  found out that they were able to trace all their group members. The savings helped them actually  settle. 
So it is important  when working with displaced persons , to establish  whether they have previous links with each or they are a totally new group of people who have settled together. Regards Barack KinangaCARE USA
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On Thu, 18 Jul 2019 at 11:07 PM, Pascale Verly<[Hidden email]<div class="original_message_link">Original message
> wrote: One aspect of the saving group I think we neglect is the  IDPs social connection (trust) with the saving group. IDPs are often removed from their community, from people with whom the share a common bond.  in temporary housing settign, it is not easy to develop enough trust that you can agree to create a saving group. maybe I'm wrong.
Pascale VerlyPhone: +1(845)821-0698
skype: pascale.verlympverly@gmail.com

On Thu, Jul 18, 2019 at 1:56 PM Rhodes Ndlovu <[Hidden email]> wrote:

The challenge with savings groups  for refugees/IDPs is associated with;1. Limited engagement (or lack of it) of the group on livelihood or economic activities in most host countries (most host countries are restrictive), making it difficult for them to have money to spare towards such activities2. Refugees/IDPs are associated with mobility, and that in itself is not compelling for refugees to invest on savings groups with uncertainties.3. Challenges around intergration with the host community limit opportunities for refugees/IDPs
On Thu, Jul 18, 2019 at 9:25 PM Sarah J Ward <[Hidden email]> wrote:

Hi MiC’ers…

 

I have been working with this global peer learning group (from all over really, but a focus on Africa and the Middle East) about access to financial services, refugees and IDPs.  (The group is hosted by the SEEP Network in partnership with FSD-Africa.)

 

After a workshop together in Nairobi (where it was too cold!) there were two amazing blogs that show our learning and thinking – and our field visits with refugee savings group members in Nairobi
 

The most interesting thing for me was how clearly SGs -  initially developed for rural, stable populations -  are working in mobile urban environments for this target group – who face administrative exclusion for most formal FSPs  in Nairobi.
 

Anna Ferracuti at UNDP wrote here about “are urban refugees really who we think they are? Do we have misconceptions about their socio-economic behavior and lives that are leading us to dismiss tools that would work?”

Meeting a Refugee, a Savings Group Member and a Businesswoman

 

Richard  Reynolds a Director at VisionFund/World Vision wrote about how those he met were so similar to the profiles of any typical urban entrepreneur that an MFI might work with – why were savings groups not standard practice?

Impressions of An Urban Refugee Savings Groups Program

 

We have challenged ourselves with a few broad questions (and yes, we have a whole learning agenda and even learning outputs in desing…so if you want you know more, head over to the PLG’s website at SEEP)

 

Our Key Challenge Questions:

- We know that Savings Groups can work for refugees and displaced people, but it is not happening a lot, nor at scale.
- What few/key questions can we answer to make it happen more often and more successfully?
- What will we create to effectively teach others what we discover?

 

What experiences do you have?
Do you have answers to these questions in your own practice?
Would you like answers 😊?….Stay Tuned!

 

Sarah

 

Sarah J Ward

Livelihoods and Economic Recovery in Crisis

[Hidden email]

skype: sarahjward

+1 518 929 6975

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-ward-5280196

03 Aug 2019, 11:51 a.m.

Fadhel Abdullah

Thank you Sara for highlighting this key point. According to examples from
our context in Yemen, I think the reasons beyond the limited examples of
SGs are:
First, the lack to enough cash to cover the basic needs and then put some
cash aside for saving,
Second, the lack of trust, especially with the absence of a trusted
governmental and/or CSOs to initiate and follow up such groups for people
to trust the savings,
Finally, the failure of previous SGs in certain contexts, bsides, the
community exaggeration of such failure.
Well, reasons my vary from a context into another, but I think many
conflicted contexts around the world might be of some similarities to ours.
Regards
Fadhel

19 Jul 2019, 6:25 p.m.

Lene Hansen

Hi Simon,
Skepticism is always good - pls note that the 29,000 VSLAs are not limited to refugee settlements but is the number of VSLAs registered. My key takeaway from Uganda is that refugees, especially in the ‘old’ settlements are fed up with programs wanting to start fin inclusion ‘from scratch’ with fin literacy or other training and establishment of saving groups. A large share of the segment of residents that FSPs should be focusing on (as opposed to the most vulnerable) are credit-ready: are doing business, know their market, have savings/collateral (albeit no land titles) - so its time for more FSPs to engage, and happily several are! I suspect the situation is similar I Kenya (ref also to IFCs recent documentation of the market in/around Kakuma.

Of course, more research is always welcome - especially if the quality usually provided by ODI, but the reasons why VSLAs cannot meet the full credit demand from collected savings is perhaps not the biggest ‘unknown’ we are facing among refugees or nationals.

Best,
Lene

Sent from my iPhone

19 Jul 2019, 2:28 p.m.

Simon Levine

Hi all

Thanks Sarah for bringing up this topic, and thanks Lene for bringing in some information about what the displaced are doing on their own, without aid projects – though I do find the figure of 29,000 VSLAs in 13 settlements – one for every 6 registered people – to be slightly on the high side of the credible. It’s important to make this the starting point, though. We tend to slip into the default setting of ‘oh yes, that's a good idea, let’s have a project to set up some savings groups’. But if almost every displaced person is already in a savings group, then what is it that we are trying to do by creating new groups?

I’m sure there are lots of places where there are fewer groups that one per 6 displaced, where some people are not able (for one reason or another) to join such groups and where the groups which do exist are struggling to respond to their members’ needs – again, for a variety of reasons. So, yes, it’s likely that financial inclusion is often going to be an important area to look to support and it is likely, too, that there will be roles in this for indigenous/informal savings groups, NGO-created semi-formal groups and more formal financial instits. But to have a cure, we need a diagnosis, so first we need to understand what those difficulties are – which will almost certainly be very different in different places and for different people. As long as we start off by asking what people are already doing and why, who is struggling to achieve this and why, then we may find ourselves a very useful role in helping people.

Apologies, though, if that looks like a professional researcher saying ‘ah yes, but we need more research on this topic first!’

Regards and happy programming,

Simon

Simon Levine
Senior Research Fellow

Humanitarian Policy Group
Overseas Development Institute
203 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NJ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7922 8224
E-mail: [Hidden email] <mailto:[Hidden email]> Web: www.odi.org.uk <http: www.odi.org.uk=""/>

We know that ill-health is a major barrier preventing people escape from poverty and crisis. But how much does ill-health really cost in those ‘difficult places’ where crises are common? Surprisingly, there was almost no information on the cost of ill-health for people living in the least resilient places (i.e. where it most matters). So we set out to find out. The results were shocking…..

https://www.odi.org/publications/11287-assessing-cost-ill-health-two-case-studies

19 Jul 2019, 2:28 p.m.

Delu Dalil Amis

Partly true. In Uganda, we have seen some of our VSLA groups setting stringent loan terms including borrowing amounts less than or equal to total savings because members tend to move back to countries of origin as peace settles!
In IDP settings, a similar situation may be observed because people are in IDP camps because of condition which if they can avoid by moving away, they can easily do so! These could questions for further research to develop VSLA under such settings!

Delu Dalil Amis | Economic Recovery & Development Manager
International Rescue Committee | Yumbe
Mobile: +256 777 596 844 | Skype: Delu Dalil
IRC Way - | Integrity | Service | Accountability
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18 Jul 2019, 8:05 p.m.

Pascale Verly

One aspect of the saving group I think we neglect is the* IDPs social
connection (trust)* with the saving group. IDPs are often removed from
their community, from people with whom the share a common bond. in
temporary housing settign, it is not easy to develop enough trust that you
can agree to create a saving group. maybe I'm wrong.
Pascale Verly
*Phone: +1(845)821-0698*
skype: pascale.verly
[Hidden email]

18 Jul 2019, 5:56 p.m.

Lene Hansen

Hi Sarah,

Echoing some of the findings of Richard Reynolds, please see the following two recent diagnostic studies from Uganda – 29,000 VSLAs (savings groups) among refugees. I am not sure they are not “happening a lot or at scale” – but they may not be well known by FSPs:

http://gca-foundation.org/data/grameen/publications-autres/etude-refugies/GCAF-Refugee-market-assessment-Uganda-FINAL-REPORT-20180713-review.pdf

https://www.inclusivefinanceplatform.nl/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/npm-diagnostic-study-uganda-final_0.pdf

Best regards,

Lene

_____________________________
Lene M.P. Hansen
Financial Inclusion Specialist
Cell: +27 766445090
Email: [Hidden email] <mailto:[Hidden email]>
Skype: lenemph

18 Jul 2019, 5:56 p.m.

Rhodes Ndlovu

The challenge with savings groups for refugees/IDPs is associated with;
1. Limited engagement (or lack of it) of the group on livelihood or
economic activities in most host countries (most host countries are
restrictive), making it difficult for them to have money to spare towards
such activities
2. Refugees/IDPs are associated with mobility, and that in itself is not
compelling for refugees to invest on savings groups with uncertainties.
3. Challenges around intergration with the host community limit
opportunities for refugees/IDPs

18 Jul 2019, 3:52 p.m.

Zehra Rizvi

I think a problem is that they aren’t seen as sexy (anymore). I think they are but if u can sell them as sexy more agencies (and I guess donors) will invest in them.
Evidence is sexy so ur already moving in the correct direction :)
They may also be seen as a rural thing over urban where a community and groups are easier to identify and understand for agencies.
The above is all agency perspective. I haven’t been able to read the blogs (traveling) but the user perspective super important here (and sexiest of all :))
Also I think JPAL does work/research on this too?
Looking forward to seeing more on this topic!
Zehra
Sent from my iPhone

18 Jul 2019, 3:25 p.m.

Sarah J Ward

Hi MiC’ers…

I have been working with this global peer learning group (from all over really, but a focus on Africa and the Middle East) about access to financial services, refugees and IDPs. (The group is hosted by the SEEP Network <http: www.seepnetwork.org=""/> in partnership with FSD-Africa <https: www.fsdafrica.org=""/> .)

After a workshop together in Nairobi (where it was too cold!) there were two amazing blogs that show our learning and thinking – and our field visits with refugee savings group members in Nairobi

The most interesting thing for me was how clearly SGs - initially developed for rural, stable populations - are working in mobile urban environments for this target group – who face administrative exclusion for most formal FSPs in Nairobi.

Anna Ferracuti at UNDP wrote here about “are urban refugees really who we think they are? Do we have misconceptions about their socio-economic behavior and lives that are leading us to dismiss tools that would work?”

<https: www.uncdf.org="" article="" 4621="" meeting-a-refugee-a-savings-group-member-and-a-businesswoman=""> Meeting a Refugee, a Savings Group Member and a Businesswoman

Richard Reynolds a Director at VisionFund/World Vision wrote about how those he met were so similar to the profiles of any typical urban entrepreneur that an MFI might work with – why were savings groups not standard practice?

<https: seepnetwork.org="" blog-post="" impressions-of-an-urban-refugee-savings-groups-program=""> Impressions of An Urban Refugee Savings Groups Program

We have challenged ourselves with a few broad questions (and yes, we have a whole learning agenda and even learning outputs in desing…so if you want you know more, head over to the PLG’s website <https: seepnetwork.org="" peer-learning-group-savings-groups-expanding-access-to-financial-services-for-refugees=""> at SEEP)

Our Key Challenge Questions:

* We know that Savings Groups can work for refugees and displaced people, but it is not happening a lot, nor at scale.
* What few/key questions can we answer to make it happen more often and more successfully?
* What will we create to effectively teach others what we discover?

What experiences do you have?
Do you have answers to these questions in your own practice?
Would you like answers 😊?….Stay Tuned!

Sarah

Sarah J Ward

Livelihoods and Economic Recovery in Crisis

<mailto:[Hidden email]> [Hidden email]

skype: sarahjward

+1 518 929 6975

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-ward-5280196