Strongim Bisnis partnered with the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) on Tuesday 20 August 2019 to host a workshop in support of Women’s Savings Clubs.
The workshop−held at CBSI’s training rooms−discussed the findings of a draft study which was conducted by Strongim Bisnis. Participants included government directors and NGO heads from organisations and departments such as the Australian High Commission, CBSI Consumers’ Empowerment Working Group members, Live & Learn, WARA, UN Women, Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands, and World Wildlife Fund Solomon Islands.
The study was conducted between February and March 2019. It analysed three types of Savings Clubs in the Solomon Islands facilitated by World Vision Solomon Islands, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM), and the indigenous Non-Government Organisation (NGO) West ‘Are’Are Rokotanikeni (WARA). The study sought to identify a business model that could be adopted by Savings Clubs in the Solomon Islands to support their long-term sustainability.
The study found that although most Savings Clubs operate as informal financial savings and loan groups, they may differ in their model of operation. Key differences between the models that might affect sustainability were whether the Clubs operated in cycles (such as annually) or on a continuing basis; the amount of flexibility and options Savings Clubs allowed members for taking products such as savings, withdrawals, loans and social funds; how many members the Savings Club had; and the amount of initial training and subsequent support provided to members.
Australian High Commission Second Secretary Economic, Cass Grant, said “The Australian Government is proud to support this initiative and the work of key stakeholders in improving access to finance for women. As a close partner of the Solomon Islands Government, Australia promotes women’s economic empowerment as an important part of its overall support to economic growth.”
During the workshop, Strongim Bisnis Women’s Economic Empowerment Director, Gianluca Nardi, presented the draft study and its recommendations to participants. Following the draft study’s presentation, the participants were invited to workshop ways to work together in improving coordination mechanisms that support Savings Clubs. The workshop resulted in several key action items that will be taken forward for consideration by relevant stakeholders. Participants also provided feedback on the draft study which will be used to finalise it for formal presentation to key stakeholders such as MWYCFA, CBSI and the Savings Clubs.
CBSI Manager of the National Financial Inclusion Unit, Linda Folia, said “The draft study produced by Strongim Bisnis is important because it identifies the key factors that help make a Savings Club sustainable. All of the participants at the workshop want to see more Savings Clubs succeed, so it is good that we are working together to coordinate our support and give feedback on the study.”
Strongim Bisnis conducted the study as part of its ongoing efforts to improve women’s economic empowerment in the Solomon Islands.
Download a copy of the presentation we gave at the workshop: Resources.