CHF and its USAID/Higa Ubeho program partners African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE0 and Association des Eglises de Pentecotes au Rwanda (ADEPR) joined the Government of Rwanda to celebrate World Savings Day.
World Savings Day is designed to encourage savings by all, particularly among poor households. Rwanda’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development organized a week of events across the country in honor of World Savings Day, from October 31st (the actual World Savings Day) through November 7th. The series of events aims to promote a culture of savings, in line with Rwanda’s Internal Savings and Mobilization strategy. This year’s theme is “Saving Today for a Better Future.”
Building upon the extensive package of economic strengthening services it provides to vulnerable Rwandan households, CHF and its USAID/Higa Ubeho program partners joined MINECOFIN, Local District Authorities and the private sector to showcase the successes of the Internal Savings and Lending Groups (ISLGs) and conduct outreach to vulnerable communities. CHF assisted ISLG members in emphasizing the importance of savings, and provided critical information and tools on how to foster a culture of savings. During the four hour event, nearly 30 community members opened accounts with a local savings bank, and over 1,200 local residents attended.
Additionally, World Savings Day was also recognized this year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who pledged $500 million to programs encouraging people worldwide to save. “Saving doesn’t just help people mitigate the risks posed by a medical emergency or a bad crop,” said Ms. Gates in her announcement. “It also gives them the ability to marshal resources to build something better for their children.”
The USAID/Higa Ubeho program aims to increase vulnerable households’ – including people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, orphans and other vulnerable children—access to quality health and social services, improve household response to health and financial obstacles through economic, nutritional and educational support; and strengthen local government and civil society capacity to provide quality health and social services to those in need. The program began providing services in April 2010. Since its inception, USAID/Higa Ubeho has helped over 40,000 families across 20 districts to create over 2,000 Internal Savings and Lending Groups (ISLGs) and entry level economic strengthening activity that helps families build financial safety nets for emergencies and enables them to begin longer-term savings for items such as school fees and entrepreneurial activities.