1. Background of Friends Help Friends Saving Group (FHF)
The Friends Help Friends Saving Group (FHF) has been established since November 8, 2009 through the first Monthly Meeting with the beginning of membership 10 members in the office of Citizen Action Net for Social Development (CAN). Friends Help Friends Saving Group (FHF) is a youth saving group for self-reliant. The main objectives of FHF are:
- Save money together for mutual help group members
- Contribute to better living of group members
- Build friendship and solidarity among friends.
2. Overview on Youth’s (16-30 years old) and Financial Situation in Cambodia
Youths in Cambodia play very important role in the country’s development. Youths represent around 30 % of the total populations in Cambodia. However youths also face a numbers of significant problems such as: No opportunity access to schooling and quality of education, lack of entrepreneurship and business creative ideas, lack of emotional and financial support for their initiatives and personal development. With these reasons, the idea of Youth Saving Group was implemented through establishing FHF Saving Group in Phnom Penh.
3. Brief description on Processes of Establishing FHF Youth Saving Group
The concept of saving group is not new for Cambodia. CEDAC has been implemented this concept with the rural community and villages since 2003. As we known at the moment from CEDAC statistic is that, there are so far around 5,000 saving groups and associations entire of Cambodia. It is interesting that there was no Youth Saving Group in Phnom Penh before the FHF Saving Group was established.
With the rational of establishing Youth Saving Group in Phnom Penh, a small group of youth together started to learn about the basic concept, overall principles and guideline of establishing, managing and leading the saving group through field visit to the rural saving group communities, consultation with the rural saving groups leaders, CEDAC’s expert staffs, and other resources persons (Mr. Khim Sophanna, Dr. Yang Saing Koma, Mr. Pan Sopheap etc).
After learning and consulting with the external resource persons, the small youth group came together to discuss and create their own suitable principles (Monthly meeting, Saving, Borrowing, Returning, Interest rate, benefit sharing etc) in the democratic practice. The management committees was elected as the following position: Chairman, Financial Officer, Cashier and General Secretary. They implement and follow their cooperative role together to ensure the saving group smoothly proceed. At the same time, the members of the saving group play very very important roles in ensuring the saving group smoothly and sustainable develop through regular and on-time monthly saving, borrowing, and returning; sharing and contributing their ideas and comments; observing and give feedback for better improvement of the saving group.
4. Development of FHF Saving Group from 2009 to 2012.
Time flies. It has been already more 2 years that FHF Saving Group has been proceeded. In November 2009, the FHF has 200 USD with the start up capital with 10 members. Until February 2012, the FHF has 32,532.53 USD with 59 members.
The FHF saving group has two types of membership: Core member and Deposit member. Each member has their own account and share. They need to save the money every month to increase their capital and plus with they monthly share profit.
5. Advantage of Saving Group especially for FHF
Saving Group is much much more than Money! Saving group has great roles and contribution in youths’ personality development, self-reliability, and positive future financial perspective, health-positive and initiative thinking, social networking, business creation, youth’s issue/
problems reduction, and social development and welfare .
So far, the FHF Saving Group’s members borrow the group money to use on different priority dimensions such as:
- Pay school/university fee
- Buy learning materials
- Invest in small agricultural sector
- Create small business
- Build/repair/buy their house
- Buy motor/car as transportation means
- Help their family’s members
- Use for their thesis writing etc…..
In conclusion, saving group has great contribution and advantages for Cambodia’s society and youths. It plays a big role in solving social problems and youth problem through the incredible and flexible, affordable ,responsible and sustainable financial support. It is a wonderful movement that now there are more and more youth saving groups have been established in Cambodia especially in Phnom Penh such as CAN Youth Team Saving Group (CYTS), Community Management Course Saving Group (CMC), Saving for Our Future (SOF) particularly RUA students, Ladies Saving Group (LSG), Youth For Future Saving Group (YFF) etc. These saving groups have built their big network so called “Friendship Saving Federation” for consulting, discussing and giving ideas for dealing the problems happen in each saving group.
Finally, I would like to say “thank so much” for all youth members, who always contribute their active rolls in the saving group and participation. Without such participation, the saving group will not be exist.