Principle 2

Implementation

Know the populations you intend to serve, including the most vulnerable, and take deliberate actions to reach them.


SGs can benefit a broad range of people, including the physically disabled, persons living with HIV/AIDS, and those socially excluded because of gender, caste, economic status, faith, age, or ethnicity. However, it is unrealistic to assume that vulnerable groups will join SGs in the absence of specific actions to include them. Programs with a mission to serve the most vulnerable will benefit from purposeful identification and targeting of vulnerable populations, proper planning, and a consistent measurement of inclusion.

Elements of Principle 2

Guidance Notes

Identification and measurement of intended participants

Define the profile of people that the program would like to reach, determine if and why they are being excluded, and develop a deliberate strategy to include them in the program. Use industry tools to measure wealth levels of members and assess whether the program is effectively reaching its target. Ideally, sample non-members for comparison; whenever possible, use local poverty averages, as rural areas where SGs are usually located tend to be poorer than national averages.

Program processes that reach the intended population

Understand the determinants of poverty and vulnerability and develop clear program processes to reach the intended populations. Consider assigning trainers to cover remote villages, developing guidelines for reaching the disabled, or working with local health officials to target areas with a high incidence of HIV/AIDS. If not reaching your intended groups, use existing analytic tools to determine the reason.

Messages that are inclusive of vulnerable populations

Deliberately choose messages that will be welcoming to the populations you want to serve. For example, the message “Savings Groups can help you grow your business” is likely to deter people without businesses. In contrast, a message like “Everyone needs to save—SGs are for all, rich or poor, farmer or farm worker” is much more inclusive. In the same way, when explaining savings parameters, use a range to describe the possible savings amounts: “Whether you want to save 5 or 500, you can join a Savings Group.” Such messages are less intimidating to those with less capacity to save.

Group procedures that reflect the needs of vulnerable populations

Ensure that the program elements appropriate for the intended population, and let members adapt procedures to meet their particular needs. For example, overly complicated record-keeping or high share values can be a barrier for the poorest, who tend to be less educated and struggle to save. Likewise, those populations living with illness or disabilities may need family members to represent them at group meetings, requiring some flexibility vis-à-vis rules for membership and attendance.

Alignment of trainer incentives with the objective of inclusion

Vulnerable populations tend to be more risk averse and beset with daily challenges; consequently, trainers have to invest more time and effort in group formation and training. In fee-for-service (FFS) structures,1 trainers might find it more difficult to collect fees from group members living below the poverty line. Provide trainers with adequate and appropriate incentives to include the most vulnerable, which may range from recognition and praise to in-kind or monetary bonuses.

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PRINCIPLE 1: DESIGN THE PROGRAM WITH CLEAR OUTREACH AND QUALITY OBJECTIVES THAT are responsive to member interests and ALIGN ALL STAKEHOLDERS WITH THE DESIRED OUTCOMES.

PRINCIPLE 3: SELECT, TRAIN, MANAGE, AND MONITOR TRAINERS IN A MANNER THAT RECOGNIZES THEIR ESSENTIAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROGRAM.

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  1. Facilitating agencies are putting in place fee-for-service (FFS) structures during a project as well as post-project, where trainers are paid by the group and offer an array of services in response to group demand. 

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