SaveAct’s achievements in building sustainable livelihoods through financial education were acknowledged when the organisation walked away with a Concept Award from the PlaNet Finance Group at a function held in Johannesburg in April 2013.
The award, which is part of PlaNet Finance’s Initiative for Embedded Financial Education (IEFE), will see SaveAct benefit from expert technical support from PlaNet Finance, a Paris-based international NGO, which aims to help poor people access financial services and bring about sustained improvements to their living standards. Expertise from Washington DC-based NGO Microfinance Opportunities will also be part of the deal, enabling SaveAct to take its financial literacy training programme to a new level.
PlaNet Finance regional director Frances Fraser said the IEFE award, financially supported by the Citi Foundation, would “develop and test solutions” which could be integrated into current SaveAct processes and programmes “to build more sustainable and informed relationships in the financial market”. There would also be limited monetary contributions to direct costs associated with developing the relevant materials.
SaveAct was chosen to receive the award by an independent panel of judges made up of four women.
Fraser said SaveAct’s submission stood out because it was clear that the organisation had succeeded in reaching significant numbers of rural people – those in most need of affordable and relevant financial services – and because the model had successfully incorporated an embedded financial literacy and education programme.
“We are delighted that SaveAct won the award,” said Fraser. “The organisation offers not only an effective savings and credit model, but integral to the model is a financial literacy programme which provides a holistic approach to building sustainable livelihoods, business enterprise and, ultimately, boosting economic development.”
Fraser said SaveAct’s success in linking agricultural enterprise with savings showed the model has considerable potential to influence economic growth and development if sufficiently scaled up.
Fraser said it was also clear to the judges that SaveAct-led savings and credit services were in high demand. “We believe that by simply giving added support to a few areas in the organisation, we could make a significant difference to its performance,” she said.
SaveAct is part of a growing movement helping to debunk the myth that poor people can’t save, said Francis. “Research arising out of projects such as Portfolios for the Poor shows us that, rather than being unable to save, poor people execute very sophisticated and innovative approaches towards money. SaveAct offers a practical example of what can be achieved when people are supported in their savings activities,” she said.
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