In August 2010, Barclays officially launched its Banking on Change (BoC) programme in five of the 11 countries where the programme is being implemented – Uganda, India, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia. The programme is now running in all 11 countries. Working in partnership with CARE International and Plan International, the community investment initiative aims to address the issue of financial exclusion by creating groups in which members pool their savings to make small loans available to each other. This programme is based on the existing Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) methodology implemented by CARE and Plan in many countries.
Banking on Change represents a three-year, £10m commitment to use savings-led microfinance methodologies to reach out to 300,000 to 500,000 people in 11 countries in Africa, Asia and South America. It is part of Banking on Brighter Futures, Barclays flagship community investment programme which focuses on improving entrepreneurial and work skills and enhancing financial inclusion in marginalised communities worldwide.
Some of the country programme highlights are as follows:
- Uganda – Like Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, BoC Uganda began its activities in 2009 but only officially launched its programme this year. BoC Uganda organised local launches between the 11 and 13 August in locations where they are piloting their new innovative component of the programme, developed specifically to test linkages between the bank and savings groups. Around 44 groups have so far opened savings accounts in a Barclays branch in Uganda.
- India – BoC India was launched on 23 August in Mumbai with all three partners present. A ceremonial lamp was lit to ensure an auspicious start to the project. CARE International will be working in areas of Tamil Nadu state that were affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, while Plan International will be working in Mongolpuri, a resettlement area in Delhi.
- Tanzania – The partnership, launched on 27 August, is working to provide access to basic financial services to about 60,000 people in six areas, namely Geita, Kisarawe, Dar Urban, Ifakara and Mwanza. David Muthungu, Country Director of Plan Tanzania, said: “Participating in this program not only helps people save, borrow and invest, but it also gives them psychological income by creating a sense of being included in the mainstream society. Plan is about children. The GS&L (Group, Savings and Loans) model introduces the culture of savings to children early in life. They grow with the knowledge of managing money and other assets.”
- Mozambique – BoC Mozambique, launched on 29 August, has been given the name VeLoWu, which is short for Veka, Lomba, Wuyelwa in Xitswa, one of the local languages in Inhambane, meaning save, borrow and achieve. At the launch, the country’s First Lady, Dra Maria da Lurdes Guebuza said: “Community-based financial services tailored to the needs of poor and vulnerable households are already having a measurable impact in reducing poverty and improving general well-being and empowerment, particularly when offered to women.”
- Zambia – This BoC partnership in the country was launched on 31 August with the aim of providing access to basic financial services for over 10,500 people in two districts of Chibombo and Mazabuka in Central and Southern provinces respectively. Bedah Salasini, Chief Operating Officer and acting Managing Director of Barclays, commented of the partnership with Plan: “Our aim is to create a sustainable solution to the issue of financial exclusion.”
The Annual Report of Year One of Banking on Change has been published. The table below shows the results to date for Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia:
|Three-year BoC target of number of savings groups
|Three-year BoC target of number of beneficiaries
|Number of savings groups formed at 30 June
|Number of beneficiaries at 30 June
|Total amount of savings (cumulative)
|Total amount of loans (cumulative)
|Number of groups linked to formal financial institutions
||44 to Barclays
71 to apex savings groups or IMAs