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The origins of this book go back to 1991, in our Ghana PPP project, when we discovered that too much emphasis on credit was creating dependent groups rather than self-reliant ones. After several unsuccessful efforts to increase group savings, we found that socio-cultural factors rather than economic ones appeared to be the main causes.

Fortunately we met up with Otto Hospes, a socio-economist at Wageningen University who had done extensive work in this field, and in 1996, with FAO Partnership Programme funding, we launched a study to explore the socio-cultural factors influencing rural saving behaviour in Zambia. This was later expanded, with generous funding from the Netherlands in 1998 to Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and served as a major source of information for this book. Additional valuable insights were collected at an international workshop on this topic in Wageningen in May 2001.

Creating a simple field manual on resource mobilization for the poor has involved collaboration with a host of individuals who deserve much credit.

We therefore wish to thank the members of PPP and other self-help groups around the world whose struggles to mobilize capital motivated the idea for this manual.

A special note of gratitude is also owed to Otto Hospes, whose academic rigour and socio-cultural insights on rural financial behavior during the research phase were invaluable, to Bernard Van Heck, Karel Callens, Jennifer Heney and Michael Marx for their detailed review of and comments on the draft text, to Brian Branch for his inputs on the credit union section, to Gabrielle Athmer and Jochem Zoetelief for their field perspectives.

Finally we would like to thank Christine Kahanda of the People’s Participation Service (PPS) and PPS groups in Zambia. Their active participation in the field testing of the resource book provided useful feedback on how to help the poor better mobilize and manage their own resources to invest in their own future. We sincerely hope this book will contribute to this end.

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