Women sitting together in a savings group.

Community Managed Saving Groups (CMSGs)

This is the flagship program through which we reach out to vulnerable communities with other interventions to eradicate poverty.

Targeting majorly women (about 75%), poor people in communities are organized in self-selected groups of 20 to 30 people. These groups with an aid of a community-based facilitator(CBF) are given various empowerment skills such as financial literacy, business and life skills.

With this knowledge, members can borrow from pooled savings and are able to start Income Generating Activities (IGAs). In addition, groups can work together to address various community concerns and lend each other support henceforth reduce their vulnerability.

Savings Plus
Strømme Foundation East Africa with its local partners reached out to 106,000 members in 3,722 groups across the East African region. These have further been facilitated to form higher level organizations called clusters for lobbying and advocacy. Through these structures other credit plus activities is extended to communities to sustain their livelihoods.

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Food security and commercial villages

Building on these structures in the community, SFEA implements food security interventions aimed at improving nutritional status at households. Using kitchen gardens vegetables, fruits or green are grown for domestic use with surplus for sale.

The Commercial Village (CV) model on the other hand is a value chain development approach aimed at promoting increased production and market access for smallholder farmers.

Prior to implementation, a value chain analysis or scoping study is guided to identify key value chains (crop or livestock) and farmers are supported along these to ensure sustainable production and access to profitable markets.

This approach recognizes the relevance of each player along the identified value chain as well as the complementary roles of private and public sectors. These partnerships are built with input supply systems; potential value chain financing and groups are transformed into producer organization.

Access to formal financial services

The increase in savings levels and growing loan needs has rendered it inevitable to link Community Managed Saving Groups (CMSG) to formal financial institutions. With this linkage groups’ savings are more secure and have access to additional funding in order to fund more developments.

Unfortunately, most of these groups are rural based where access/spread of formal financial institutions is still relatively low due to poor infrastructure. The only available option has been through use of technology riding on the vast mobile telephone network.

What we aim to achieve
Strømme Foundation East Africa is committed to promoting economic inclusion to improve livelihoods for the rural poor through enhanced income generation. Working with CMSGs, Strømme Foundation East Africa will promote access to microcredit necessary for business start-up.

Additionally, we will improve the food and nutrition security of vulnerable households through effective and sustainable business linkages with agricultural value chain actors, employment creation for women and youth.

Parents from the Community Managed Saving Groups are also encouraged to save into a group education fund which is used to support and meet the education needs of their children. 

Two hands exchanging money.