Development organizations such as NGO’s and churches have learned that savings groups with regular ongoing teaching have proven to significantly improve sustainable impact to beneficiaries. When these organizations use teaching-based savings groups with resources provided by Good Steward International, the impact can be very helpful. These savings groups help communities rise out of poverty in a sustainable manner. They can help those in need discover untapped community resources, evaluate problems, and discover potential solutions with group based ongoing teaching.
Selling Tea Is Good Business!
Abdul serves tea in his new shop, started with business planning and funds from his community savings group.
Life has presented many struggles to Abdul and his family, who live in rural Bangladesh. Several years ago, a development organization came to Abdul’s village, offering to teach and begin a savings group in the community. At first Abdul and his wife Mohsina were skeptical. However, they decided to join the group to see if they could receive help in their desperate situation.
The savings group facilitator presented a teaching manual to each of the 27 members who joined the group. He guided them in adopting bylaws for self-governing their group and electing officers. In their weekly meetings, the facilitator helped them discuss problems they and their community faced, and facilitated their discussions in helping them discover solutions to those problems.
Last year this group concluded their first term. They collectively decided to bring the prior term’s savings of $440 USD forward to the second term so they would have more collective savings, allowing them to give larger loans to group members.
The ongoing Bible-based teaching Abdul and Mohsina received at these meetings caused them to begin planning ways to better provide for their family. Examples and financial forms in their teaching manual helped them develop their business plan. During their savings group’s second term, they submitted their business plan to the group and requested a loan of $240 USD to help start up a tea shop. The savings group members questioned Abdul’s business plan, but with some conditions they approved the loan.
Today Abdul says his tea shop is going well. He and his family faithfully serve the community and open the shop early in the morning. He believes working hard is important for success. Above all, Abdul and Mohsina are happy and privileged to have the opportunity to operate this small business as a way to better provide for their family. They express their thankfulness to God and the development organization for giving them this opportunity! It is encouraging to see this rural Bangladeshi community slowly rising out of poverty. Their savings group members are inspired about working together as a community. During the past 1-year term, over 92% of the members faithfully attended each meeting. In this same term, group members received 41 loans totaling more than $2,800 USD. Because of the teaching and community accountability, more people are learning about God’s plan for meeting the needs of their families.