In 2001 I outlined a proposal to a large charity to deliver savings to Cambodian villagers. The British director was quiet until I finished, when he announced: “there is only one difficulty with this proposal. Villagers don’t have any money – they are too poor to save.”
It’s been a decade since the publication of The Poor and Their Money, Stuart Rutherford’s classic rebuttal of this impoverished — and impoverishing — idea. But in development practice it lingers – as silent and influential as a racial prejudice — in our institutions and our thinking.
If you talk to villagers, don’t ask them if they save. (more…)