Saving for Change is a highly replicable savings-led microfinance program developed by Freedom from Hunger, Oxfam America and Strømme Foundation. The Saving for Change program with SEMUS in Burkina Faso began in 2012. It enables the very poor to form self-managed Savings Groups and participate in simple, relevant, high-impact education in health, business and money management. The program brings basic financial services to areas that are typically beyond the reach of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and, in doing so, creates sustainable, cohesive groups that tackle social issues facing their members and their communities.
This study of Savings Group members was conducted with one of Freedom from Hunger’s local NGO partners, SEMUS, which works in the northern region of Burkina Faso in rural areas of the province Passoré. This region is the poorest in Burkina Faso, with approximately 68 percent of households living below the poverty line.2 More than 80 percent of the workforce relies on agriculture for income in an area with inconsistent rainfall and poor soil, which often leads to poor crop yields.