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The Women’s Bank in Sri Lanka - 3


08 / 1994

The Colombo District Women’s Thrift and Credit Cooperative Society Limited popularly known as the Women’s Bank was set up in Sri Lanka with the aim of developing a women centered saving and credit programme in urban poor families.

The programme was initiated by two NGOs, the Praja Sahayaka Sewaya(PSS)and the Knatha Sahayaka Sewaya(KSS).

In the design of this savings and credit programme is the interesting concept of the Cash Box.

Savings play an important role in the scheme where the target groups organise themselves into units and initiate a savings scheme as the first step to the credit programme. It is with the savings of the group members that the first loans are disbursed.

Once a group of potential loanee organise themselves into a group to save, the Cash Box features prominently. The aid the new group first receives is a package of stationary and a steel Cash Box with akey.

The stationary is used to record all savings and loan transactions while the Cash Box ensures the safety of the money collected as savings.

A set of rules and regulations govern the Cash Box. These rules and regulations have been drafted by group members themselves through experiences.

At the inception of the savings and credit scheme, the only rule that governed the Cash Box was that it had to be in the custody of the Treasurer of the group.

But now the Box has to be kept in the custody of the group leader. Of the two keys to the Box, one must be kept in sealed cover with the Centre and the duplicate with a member specifically elected by the group members, who in turn is responsible for the contents of the Box.

The Box must be brought to evey weekly meeting and all members whould jointly check all money transactions at the weekly meeting.

In the event of one key getting lost, the box should be brought immediately to the Women’s Bank Operating Centre and opened with the duplicate key and all money transferred to a new box obtained from the Centre.

Key words

credit, savings

, Sri Lanka, Colombo


This Cash Box is symbolic of a very small scale credit and savings scheme. This is effective in a small credit and savings group but not when the group wishes to expand.


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IRED Asie (Development Support Service) - 562/3 Nawala Road - Rajagiriya - Sri Lanka Tel : 94 1 695 481 - Fax : 94 1 - 688 368

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