In the spirit of fostering a diverse learning environment, Oxfam America has signed a contract with the MasterCard Foundation to award partial scholarships for travel to the SG 2013 Savings Groups Conference. They therefore call for applications and research proposals for the 2013 Savings Groups Conference. Women are strongly encouraged to apply for this opportunity.
Savings Groups provide access to basic financial services to over six million rural poor people, mostly women, worldwide. These self-selected and self- managed groups, predominately found in remote areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Central America, provide their members with a secure place to save and easy access to loans.The goal of the MasterCard Foundation scholarships for the SG 2013 Savings Groups Conference is to bring together a wide range of participants interested in learning more about Savings Groups.
Attendees are invited to submit proposals to present on Savings Groups in a designated Research or Programming session at the SG 2013 Savings Groups Conference. Presenters will be assigned a time slot on Monday March 4, 2013.
Research may reflect themes such as:

  • Savings Groups as platforms
  • Financial linkages
  • Sustainability
  • Delivery methods
  • Special populations
  • Other themes of interest
  • Resilience
  • Empowerment

They invite programming session proposals on the following topics:

  • Savings Groups and mobile technology
  • Taking SGs to scale
  • Gender
  • Regulation
  • Financial capability
  • Open suggestion

Working within this efficient model, they can evolve into more than just savings and credit groups. They invite you to join them in considering the future of Savings Groups.
This year’s conference will be held March 4th and 5th, 2013 at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, VA. The theme of this year’s conference is Expanding Financial Inclusion and Development.
Worth of Awards

  • Funding has been reserved for speakers, delegates, microfinance networks, central bankers, and regulators from Africa and speakers from Latin America and Asia. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, especially if a visa is required. Fifty percent of funding is designated for female applicants, so they strongly encourage women to apply.
  • The partial scholarships will cover the cost of a participant’s airfare travel to the conference.
  • The following costs are not covered and are the responsibility of the awardee:
  • All travel reimbursements will be issued after the conference. Awardees will also be required to complete a conference evaluation survey and may be asked to complete a questionnaire form for the MasterCard Foundation before they leave Washington DC.
  • Conference registration fee
  • Ground transportation within the home country and in the Washington DC area
  • Hotel accommodations
  • Meals after conference hours

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least two years of experience working with Savings Groups or in microfinance, central banking, regulatory agencies, or a related field
  • Have limited access to financial resources to pay for all expenses required to attend the conference. Applicants are required to submit an action plan for how they will disseminate what they learn at the conference to colleagues and others who can benefit from the knowledge
  • Foundations, corporations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, financial institutions, microfinance institutions (MFIs), central banks, academic institutions, policy and research institutions, international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) interested in learning more about SGs will benefit from this conference.

How to Apply
To submit a research session proposal, visit the conference website and download the request for proposals.
They will review applications on a rolling basis. Notification of awardees will be made via email and will happen as soon as the selections are made. Awardees will be given 5 business days to communicate their acceptance of the scholarship.
Be sure to complete all required details. All research proposals must be submitted by 5:00 pm EDT on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, to Clelia Anna Mannino ([email protected]).
Click here for more information.