Expanding Financial Inclusion in Africa Learning Event: Dissemination of Performance and Results


Catholic Relief Services’ Expanding Financial Inclusion Africa (EFI) project, funded by Mastercard Foundation, hosted a learning event in conjunction with the SEEP Network Annual Conference on Thursday, October 5th, 2017. The project operated in four countries – Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia – through nine local implementing partners over a 4-year period.

The core goal of the project was to expand financial inclusion to 500,000 vulnerable households through CRS’ Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) methodology to improve their resilience to economic shocks and the quality of their lives. EFI Africa has already surpassed its project targets, forming 20,000+ SILC groups and reaching over 545,000 households.

A major focus of this project has been to capture significant amounts of data* to shed light on the economic lives of our members, and enabled CRS to refine and strengthen the Private Service Provider (PSP) model which has proved to be both prolific and sustainable.

The October 5th event shared learning on EFI’s research agenda:

  • A mixed methods approach to developing a Pro-Poor Package and measuring poverty outreach
  • An innovative use of the Financial Diaries in Zambia with both SILC and comparison households
  • Challenges of the mobile money pilot in Uganda with MNOs and Commercial Banks
  • Breakthrough in post-project sustainability as a result of the PSP model

CRS EFI Africa staff, research partners, and technical advisors will present key learnings that will impact the way CRS implements future SILC/PSP programs and hopefully transform how the Savings Group industry views financial inclusion.


  • Sean Callahan, CRS, President & CEO
  • Amy Davis – EFI Chief of Party
  • Kondwani Ngwira – EFI Deputy Chief of Party
  • Ben Allen- CRS Technical Advisor, Microfinance Research
  • marc bavois – CRS Microfinance Technical Advisor, Microfinance
  • Julie Lawson-McDowall – EFI Research Coordinator
  • Guy Stuart – Microfinance Opportunities, Executive Director
  • Ruth Dueck-Mbeba- Mastercard Foundation, Senior Program Manager
  • Jacque Kabore – EFI Country Program Manager, Burkina Faso
  • Daouda Sonko – EFI Country Program Manager, Senegal
  • Godfrey Kalemera – EFI Country Program Manager, Uganda
  • Angela Kalambo – EFI Country Program Manager, Zambia

*EFI implemented a robust and innovative research agenda using data from the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI), the MIS SAVIX, the Financial Diaries and Ethnographic studies that focused on questions related to poverty outreach, financial behavior, and the SILC-PSP model.


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