Knowledge sharing and management in CARE's village savings and loans programs

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Southern New Hampshire University
CARE's Savings-Led Microfinance methodology (also widely known within CARE as the Village Savings and Loans - VS&L - methodology) enables the poor to save and access their savings in order to increase the ability to partake in economic opportunities that present themselves as viable ways to better their lives as well as their families. Upon examination of a variety of VS&L programming within CARE, no one specific methodology is utilized but rather a multitude of appropriate practices based on a combination of country specific situations, people's varying needs and sector wide best practices. Innovations in the methodology have evolved in some of the more long standing programs and even can be seen in the nascent methodologies. Based on this evolving nature of program design, it is vital that CARE maintains knowledge on current and past programming methodologies and is able to disseminate pertinent information to internal practitioners as well as global practitioners wishing to implement similar programs. The lack of infrastructure and culture to support this knowledge sharing disables the vital link needed to carry out good economic development program design and implementation. Consequently, the lack of knowledge of best practices and current innovations lead ideas and interventions to be constantly reinvented. The time and energy spent in reinventing the same projects is time consuming and unnecessary. If economic development practitioners were able to access a library or database or just have thematic/sector ready information and or guidelines readily available and accessible, this waste of time and energy could be eliminated and VS&L methodologies that target the poor, marginalized and vulnerable could be designed. Through this pilot project entitled Knowledge Sharing and Management in VS&L Programs, CARE intends to enhance the cross-country learning and availability of VS&L programmatic knowledge through the creation of an information platform and database for its Southern African (Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa\ Lesotho, Zambia and Zimbabwe) Village Savings and Loans practitioners as well as practitioners external to the organization and researchers. (Author abstract)