3. Traditional meets digital: Sanduk savings schemes takes women’s economic empowerment from analog to digital while honoring traditional practices
South Sudanese women out of necessity and with a spirit of self-reliance, engage in start-up economic activity by setting up small scale businesses that can help to provide their families a supplementary income. One of the major challenges these women face is access to savings and loans schemes to strengthen their economic standing and the resiliency of their income-generating activities. Over time, to solve problem this themselves, women developed a traditional savings scheme called ‘Sanduk- Sanduk’.
In a Sanduk- Sanduk, each member deposits money periodically and the collective disperses the pooled savings to one recipient per iteration. This system is used both in Sudan and South Sudan, and has helped women across both countries plan savings as well as raise start-up capital at an interest-free rate.. The Sudan and South Sudan Accelerator Labs are teaming up with UNDP’s Africa Borderlands Centre to work with these groups and other partners to explore building a financial service product offering that is adapted to the localized context that can expand the existing Sanduk - Sanduk scheme and formalize these groups into more robust savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs). This initiative will result in economic and social empowerment of vulnerable women/communities, as well as build local and indigenous knowledge via the celebration, honoring, recognition, and scaling of pre-existing local practices.