Together supporting microfinance
and microinsurance in the South


You need money to be able to save.
But even if you are poor you can take advantage of microsaving.

Can poor people set aside money?

Absolutely. Poor people can set aside money. What’s more, they want to.

Regardless of how poor they are, people always like to have some money put away in order to create a buffer for future expenses. They save money to pay their children's school fees, a funeral, a wedding, and so much more.

This insight has underpinned the activities of cooperatives for over one hundred years and subsequently the microfinance sector also adopted it.


How do poor people in the South save money?

Traditionally there are a number of ways to save money:

  • Gradually acquire some cattle, jewellery or construction material
  • Give small sums to a treasurer every day who holds the funds in trust
  • Put together a small sum of money every week as a group. Every week a different person gets to take the money home (tontines or roscas).

Specific needs

Poor people mainly require a tailored form of safe and flexible saving.

And because their financial resources are so limited it is all the more important that their savings are safely held.

They also need to be sure that their savings can be freed up quickly in case of an unexpected setback. They require a flexible system because their income is often irregular or seasonal.

Microsavings: a tailor-made approach

In addition to the traditional savings schemes, microfinance institutions offer savings products that are suited to the specific needs of their clients, i.e., safe and flexible savings schemes.

Microfinance institutions that wish to use the savings of their poor customers to extend loans to other clients are subjected to stringent legislation in several countries. .

This is to protect the savings of the poor even further, in order to ensure that they break out of poverty instead of becoming even poorer.