Program Quality Guidelines for Savings Groups
The growing popularity of SGs has brought with it much excitement, but has also highlighted some inherent challenges. As the benefits of SGs become increasingly apparent, new and diverse organizations are entering the field and adopting the methodology with a variety of goals and varying degrees of rigor. At the same time, organizations that have traditionally facilitated SGs are innovating with new approaches and technologies; while most of these innovations are assumed to bring efficiency, sustainability, and greater choice to SG members, their long-term impacts are still unknown.
To ensure that SG members are not harmed by this unprecedented growth and innovation, SEEP’s Savings-Led Working Group (SLWG) brought together SG practitioners to define minimum standards for quality programming. Quality programs are understood as those programs that prioritize members’ welfare and that provide members with lasting and measurable benefits while minimizing risks and promoting group sustainability. Additionally, practitioners stress the importance of programs serving a large numbers of disadvantaged people in diverse contexts.
The Program Quality Guidelines (PQGs) begin with the conviction that facilitating agencies have a responsibility to implement quality SGs that safeguard the wellbeing of members and the security of their assets. They represent a sector-wide effort to build quality from the onset as a guarantee for consumer protection, rather than waiting for problems to emerge before taking steps to address them.