'Banking on Change' – our partnership with Barclays and CARE International UK – has won the Third Sector Business Charity Award 2012 in the Overseas Project category. These awards are run by ‘Third Sector’ magazine, for people involved in voluntary and not-for-profit work, recognise the outstanding contribution made by businesses in the UK to good causes.
The ‘Overseas Project’ award goes to a company that has successfully helped the beneficiaries of a UK charity in a project outside the UK.
'Banking on Change' is a £10 million, three-year programme that aims to improve the quality of life of half a million disadvantaged people by developing and extending access to basic banking services.
Since the project began in 2009, 16,255 community savings groups have been formed, involving 327,777 people. In total they have saved more than £3.4m - each group has saved an average of £221.
Members agree among themselves to form and manage the groups, making their own rules about how much each person needs to contribute and what they can use loans for - to start small businesses, or pay for school equipment for their children, for example.
"Village savings and loans groups allow women who don’t have access to banks to save money and invest in income-making projects. In so doing they can help lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty," says Marie Staunton, Chief Executive Officer of Plan UK.
Judges were impressed by the strength of the partnership. Joe Franses, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Enterprises, says, "There was a clear link with the bank's core business and strong evidence of the partnership's impact."
“We’re delighted ‘Banking on Change’ has been recognised in these awards. The partnership we have with Barclays and CARE is making a real difference to the lives of families in 11 of the world’s poorest countries,” says Jeremy Cooper, Plan UK’s Director of Fundraising. “The programme is a great example of Plan’s approach because it emphasises local participation and ownership – leading to sustainable change. Around 75 per cent of those involved in Savings Groups are women - and the programme also gives a significant number of young people a chance to become financially included and independent”.