The programme has seen great success and global recognition, including a recent visit to the programme in Zambia by Sky News presenter, Samantha Washington. She spent time visiting local savings and loans groups, learning about the difference the groups are making to people’s lives.
On her experience and learnings in Zambia, Samantha says: “Small savings groups are springing up involving people from neighbouring villages. I went to a regular monthly meeting of one of these groups, sitting amongst the members under a mango tree to keep shelter from the blazing sun.
Zambians call these groups OSAWE, which stands for Own Savings for Assets and Wealth creation. In local lingo it means “don’t fall” or “stand firm”. At these regular meetings, the ten or so members are each expected to make regular contributions. These are collected into a multiple padlocked metal tin. From these funds, loans can be granted to anyone in the group, usually to help fund some kind of small enterprise.”
Samantha continues: “It really works much like a typical co-operative. The group votes to grant the loan, it decides collectively on an interest rate, and all the decisions and flows are money are carefully minuted and signed off. Because joining the group is by invitation, and the communities are tight, the self-selection results in virtually no theft and less than 1% of the loans default.
For me watching the Kwacha (Zambian currency) being locked away in the tin, it was a potent reminder of the social utility that banking used to provide. Hearing the stories of those who are in the savings groups illustrated this most clearly.”
To further share the work of Banking on Change and the importance of the programme, she wrote a blog that has been featured on Sky News online and the Huffington Post; and Sky News shared Samantha’s experience on-air on Friday, 31 October.