An exploration of savings group learning in SaveAct financial education programme : a case study of Sizanani Savings Group.
Dlamini, Nqe Jacob.
MetadataShow full item record
Community-based financial institutions like the stokvels, savings groups and burial societies have been active in South Africa for many years and provide important financial services to communities. This study explored the nature of learning that resulted from participation in a specific savings group. The research question was informed by the phenomenon that unsupervised savings groups grew their membership and supported the establishment of new savings groups without the support of an external organisation, and in this case, SaveAct. Savings groups would be trained, mentored and supervised by SaveAct in their first saving cycle for them to operate independently from SaveAct in the second cycle and beyond. SaveAct and other organisations that have interest in the programme, underestimate the knowledge and skills gained by participants in these groups. There is a need to identify and understand knowledge and skills gained by members of these groups which are responsible for growth. Exploratory research using documentary analysis, observations, focus group discussion and interviews had been conducted with nine members of a specific savings group in the rural community located west of the Bergville town in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The participants of the study were asked as to how members adhere and/or divert from the SaveAct programme post the SaveAct intervention to understand the nature of learning that occurred in their group. The study was concerned with non-formal and informal learning. Non-formal learning was provided by SaveAct through training and monthly supervision sessions. Informal learning that happened among the members of the group elevated the influence of lived experiences of the participants in the savings group. Learning was identified from the key moments of the savings group which are the establishment phase, support and supervision phase by SaveAct and the post-graduation phase. The larger part of non-formal learning was found to have happened during the establishment phase as well as the supervision phase of the group. The post-supervision phase provided evidence of informal learning. It must be noted that the post-graduation phase is when SaveAct was no longer supporting the group. Based on learning that happened in the group four main recommendations were made, namely: strengthening self-selection processes to enhance participation; embracing life skills; dedicating continuous skilling development for record keepers; and broadening financial offerings to savings groups.