Saving Circles and Mother Centers or mother communities

by | May 24, 2023 | Financial

Saving Circles

a. Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) by CARE International: This is a community-based savings and lending model that empowers women in rural areas to save money, access credit, and invest in income-generating activities. CARE International has implemented VSLA programs in various countries, including Uganda, Malawi, and Tanzania, with positive impacts on poverty reduction and women’s economic empowerment.

b. Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank (MSSB) in Nepal: MSSB is a women’s cooperative bank that operates in Nepal and focuses on providing financial services to women, including savings, credit, and insurance. MSSB has been successful in empowering women and improving their economic status through financial inclusion.

c. Grameen Bank in Bangladesh: Grameen Bank is a microfinance institution that pioneered the concept of group-based lending, including savings and credit, to low-income women in Bangladesh. It has been widely recognized as a successful model for poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment.

The Mother Center experience with Savings and Credit groups

  • Hot Money is a study carried through for the German Federal Department for Family Policy on the effects of Savings and Credit groups on single parenting welfare mothers. The method was introduced to the Mother Center movement by grassroots women’s groups from India .

Mother Centers:

Are there savings and credit groups in the Mother Centers of the other countries?

Saving and credit groups are something the German Mother Centers have learned from the women in India. It is not very common in Europe yet, there are saving groups in Mother Centers in some Eastern European countries as well as in Africa. 

  • MAMAS – MütterAktivMütterAltern Sozialprojekte in Germany: MAMAS is a social project in Germany that aims to empower mothers through economic activities, including sewing workshops, craft markets, and online sales of handmade products. MAMAS provides training, support, and a platform for mothers to start and grow their own businesses, generating income and building self-sufficiency.
  • Motherhood Cooperative in the Netherlands: Motherhood Cooperative is a non-profit organization in the Netherlands that operates as a community hub for mothers and caregivers, offering various services and activities, including support groups, workshops, and entrepreneurial initiatives. It provides opportunities for mothers to network, share experiences, and develop entrepreneurial skills for economic empowerment.

Supporting Organizations:

  • Women’s Economic Empowerment Organizations (WEEOs): Several organizations at the global, regional, and national levels focus on women’s economic empowerment, including financial inclusion, business development, and vocational training. Examples include UN Women, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Women’s World Banking, and Global Banking Alliance for Women.
  • Local NGOs and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs): Many local NGOs and CBOs around the world are actively involved in supporting low-income women and mothers through savings circles, mother centers, and other economic empowerment initiatives. These organizations often work closely with communities to provide tailored support, including capacity building, access to credit, and market linkages.
  • Social Impact Investment Funds: Some social impact investment funds, such as Acumen, Root Capital, and Oikocredit, invest in initiatives that support women’s economic empowerment, including savings circles and mother centers. These funds provide financial resources, technical assistance, and mentorship to social enterprises and initiatives focused on women’s economic empowerment.

These are just a few examples of best practices, organizations, and projects related to saving circles and mother centers or mother communities. It’s important to note that the landscape of initiatives and organizations supporting women’s economic empowerment is vast and constantly evolving, with numerous projects and organizations operating in different regions and contexts. Conducting further research and engaging with local stakeholders can provide more insights into specific initiatives and organizations that align with your interests or needs.



Saving Circles, also known as Savings Groups or Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), are community-based financial initiatives that enable individuals, including women, to come together and save, borrow, and invest money collectively. Saving Circles have gained popularity as a form of microfinance, particularly in low-income communities where access to formal banking services is limited.

In a Saving Circle, members pool their savings on a regular basis, typically in the form of cash or other tangible assets, and create a common fund. The savings are then used to provide loans to group members for various purposes, such as starting or expanding a small business, paying for education or health expenses, or investing in other income-generating activities.

Saving Circles are often characterized by their participatory and self-managed nature, with members collectively making decisions on savings and loan terms, interest rates, and loan repayment schedules. They are typically facilitated by a community-based organization or a local leader, and members contribute to the group’s fund regularly and participate in meetings where financial transactions and decisions are made.

For women, Saving Circles have provided a means to access financial services and resources that may be otherwise unavailable to them. They have offered a safe and supportive environment for women to save, invest, and borrow money, which can help them build assets, generate income, and improve their economic status. Saving Circles have also been associated with increased financial literacy, empowerment, and social cohesion among women, as they work together towards common financial goals and support each other in their economic pursuits.

In summary, Saving Circles are community-based financial initiatives that have been used as a form of microfinance to enable individuals, including women, to save, borrow, and invest money collectively. They provide a means for women to access financial services, build assets, and improve their economic status, while fostering community cohesion and empowerment.

Here are some examples of how Saving Circles have been used by women and mother communities around the world:

  1. CARE International’s Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in Africa: CARE International has implemented VSLAs in various African countries, such as Uganda, Malawi, and Niger, targeting women and mothers in rural communities. These VSLAs have provided women with opportunities to save, access credit, and invest in income-generating activities, such as small-scale farming, livestock rearing, and trading. They have also promoted financial literacy and empowerment among women, leading to improved livelihoods, increased food security, and enhanced social cohesion within the communities.
  2. Women for Women International’s Savings for Change in Afghanistan: Women for Women International, a non-profit organization, has implemented Savings for Change (SfC) programs in Afghanistan to empower women by providing them with financial skills and resources. SfC groups are formed among women in rural areas, including mothers, who come together to save money, access credit, and invest in income-generating activities, such as handicrafts and livestock rearing. These SfC groups have enabled women to improve their economic status, gain decision-making power, and enhance their social standing in their communities.
  3. Oxfam’s Saving for Change in Haiti: Oxfam, an international humanitarian organization, has implemented Saving for Change (SfC) programs in Haiti to support women in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. SfC groups were formed among women, including mothers, to save money, access credit, and invest in small businesses, such as food vending and tailoring. These SfC groups have provided women with opportunities to generate income, rebuild their livelihoods, and improve their resilience in the face of disaster.
  4. BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation Program in Bangladesh: BRAC, a global development organization, has implemented the Ultra-Poor Graduation Program in Bangladesh, targeting vulnerable women, including mothers, living in extreme poverty. The program combines financial services, such as savings groups and small loans, with social support, livelihood training, and health services to help women graduate out of poverty. The program has empowered women by providing them with financial resources, skills, and support networks, leading to improved livelihoods, increased food security, and enhanced social inclusion.

These are just a few examples of how Saving Circles have been used by women and mother communities around the world to empower them economically, socially, and emotionally. Saving Circles have proven to be effective in providing women with access to financial services, building assets, and improving their livelihoods, while fostering community cohesion and empowerment.

Written by OpenAI, ChatGPT, 2023.


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