Evaluation of Privatized Delivery Model for Savings and Internal Lending Committees (SILCs)

Savings and internal lending committees, known as SILCs, are community member groups that save, meet regularly, lend to members, and keep records. Most often, a non-governmental organization (NGO) field agent assists with this process. Joseph Kaboski’s research project investigates whether a large-scale restructuring of SILCs could allow for the field agents to transition to acting as private entrepreneurs who earn payments for their services from the SILC members themselves. The hope is that this innovation would lower the required resources needed to subsidize SILCs and thereby improve the long-term sustainability of the committees and the ability of NGOs to expand the program.

Kaboski’s study involves a randomized evaluation of nearly 800 agents in some of the poorest regions of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The ambition is that these 800 agents will create roughly 14,000 SILCs that will reach close to 300,000 members.

Research Questions: 
  • Will the groups with private entrepreneurs be as successful as those with agents paid by NGOs in terms of their ability to mobilize savings, lend judiciously, maintain membership and secure high repayment rates?
  • Similarly, will the private entrepreneurs be more successful in founding additional groups?
  • How do the revenues of private entrepreneurs compare to those paid directly by CRS?

 What impacts do SILCs have on their members and do these vary by the compensation plans of their leaders?
  • Are SILCs successful in reallocating resources effectively and smoothing consumption?
  • Does the need to pay SILCs affect the impacts of programs on households?
Data Notes: 

Survey Time Frame and Rounds:

  • Randomization of first group, December 2009
  • Before survey of households and groups in the treatment and control areas, early 2010
  • Follow-up survey will run 18 and 36 months after the initial randomization

Survey size:

  • 800 agents


  • Field agents
  • SILCs
  • Member households
  • Non-member households

Intervention: Some areas will get paid field agents, some will get private entrepreneur field agents, and some will get no SILCs at all.

Catholic Relief Services