Project background – SILC and the PSP Model
Catholic Relief Services developed the model of Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) for user-owned, self-managed savings and credit groups. A SILC typically comprises 15-30 self-selecting members, and offers frequent, convenient and safe opportunities to save. It helps members build useful lump sums that become available at a predetermined time and allows them to access small loans or emergency grants for investment and consumption.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation from 2008 to 2012, SILC Innovations is a pilot project within CRS’ broader SILC program. SILC Innovations aims to establish local entrepreneurial capacity for sustaining the spread of the savings-group model beyond the funding period. In the project design, the Field Agents (FA) responsible for forming and supporting SILC groups are recruited and paid by the project for up to one year. The FAs then undergo an examination process to become certified as Private Service Provider (PSP), who offer their SILC services to communities on a long-term, fee-for-service basis, with no further project funding. As of March 2012, the project serves more than 350,000 savings-group members, mostly rural villagers, across the three pilot countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.