Research
Digital Inclusion Digital Recordkeeping Digitization Benefits Digitization Risks & Barriers Evidence & Impact Gender Rural Populations Social Inclusion Technology Solutions User Experience

Digital Savings Groups: Evidence from Tanzania

Published by
Julia Arnold
2020
Project Concern International (PCI), International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), DreamStart Labs
View Resource

This report provides some of the first insights into how savings groups can successfully transition from paper to digital ledgers and examines some key hypotheses about digitizing savings groups. Specifically, the report presents findings from an evaluation of a pilot test of DreamSave—a digital savings ledger—conducted by Project Concern International (PCI)—A Global Communities Partner, DreamStart Labs, and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). DreamSave was implemented among thirteen savings groups in the Mara region of rural Tanzania. PCI selected six existing savings groups (“paper-to-digital”) and created seven new groups (“born digital”) with whom to test the application (app). The groups used the digital ledger to conduct group savings activities for eight months. PCI provided each group with a smartphone to mitigate any bias from only working with groups which had access to a group smartphone. For the vast majority of members, this was the first time they had ever used a smartphone. 

The key findings of this report indicate that the digital record keeping app reduced financial transaction times and errors in record-keeping and that digitization increased members’ ability to create and track progress towards their savings goals. Conflict among group members decreased and digital curiosity increased with the introduction of smartphones. The report also examines gender barriers to and impacts of digitization. Most female members in the new savings groups tended to be younger, women were far less comfortable using smartphones than men, and many groups wanted to keep a paper ledger in addition to the digital app. Women faced systematic barriers to accessing and owning mobile technology, which made them less likely to gravitate toward a digital savings ledger and more likely to need extra time to gain confidence with the technology and their skill level. 

 

This resource will be useful to organizations implementing and evaluating digital savings group (DSG) projects and anyone interested in learning about the implications of adding technology to a group-based financial service.

Leave a Reply

View all comments

Related Resources

Read
Training
Consumer Protection Digital Financial Services Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy
Training
Consumer Protection Digital Financial Services Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy

Hey Sister! Show me the Mobile Money!

Strategic Impact Advisors
2021

Hey Sister! Show me the Mobile Money!

Hey Sister! is an IVR (interactive voice response) digital financial literacy (DFL) campaign designed to increase women’s ability to access and use digital financial services (DFS). The campaign lessons are available online for use and adaptation by anyone, anywhere. Particular resources have been tailored and made available for learning and facilitation in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, […]
Read
Tool
Digital Transformation Digitization Benefits Digitization Risks & Barriers Gender
Tool
Digital Transformation Digitization Benefits Digitization Risks & Barriers Gender

DSG Toolkit: Monitoring and Evaluation of DSG Projects 

By Lauren Hendricks, Dennis Mello & Paulina (Paula) Rudnicka 
Global Communities, Women for Women International 
2022

DSG Toolkit: Monitoring and Evaluation of DSG Projects 

This tool is designed to improve digital savings group (DSG) implementers’ understanding of the impacts of digitization on groups and their members using gender-sensitive indicators and monitoring approaches. The tool includes sample indicators and a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework.  This tool is a part of the Digital Savings Group (DSG) Toolkit: Tools to Support […]