Today’s Revolutionary:
Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer (b.January 5, 1947) was the first woman to register (as “K.V. Switzer”) and run in the Boston Marathon, in 1967. (Other women had jumped in previous marathons and completed it, but without registering and without numbers on their jerseys). Most of the other runners in the 1967 race were happy to run with a woman, and the race organizers did nothing, until about mile 4, when officials, led by Jock Semple, tried to stop her. “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers,” cried Mr. Semple. Kathrine’s boyfriend, also running the race, shielded her, and she continued and finished.

Switzer has since pointed out that nowhere in the rules was there any provision that runners had to men only. It was just assumed. In an case, the rules were revised five years later, in 1972, explicitly allowing women, and Mr. Semple, who had tried to stop her before, was instrumental in having the rules changed.



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Savings Groups are catching on in Europe and North America.

Follow this movement, and maybe get involved yourself.

Start by reading the Northern Lights page of Savings Revolution.

Then, if you like, contact us below, and we can talk about how you can form your own groups. We’ll put you in touch with someone who can help you do that!

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    Favorite Sites

    Here are some other sites that Kim and Paul read, that we think you might enjoy.


    Winkomun: This is a site of the ACAF network, mostly in Europe. They are doing great work and are Northern Lights leaders. Nice video where various members answer the question, “What is a Group”? Also available in español, català, and français. Where else can you get news about Savings Groups in Catalan?

    The SEEP Savings Led Working Group site. Congratulations to SEEP for putting together this comprehensive, easily accessible go-to site on savings groups. Check out their library, their report on outreach by country, and lots of other goodies.

    Village Finance Blog. Brett Hudson Matthew’s thoughtful posts are grounded in an understanding of oral cultures, history, and social dynamics. Recommended for anyone trying to understand what’s really happening in savings groups. 

    Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at UC Irvine. “Its mission is to support research on money and technology among the world’s poorest people. We seek to create a community of practice and inquiry into the everyday uses and meanings of money, as well as … technological infrastructures”. ‘Nuff said.

    David Roodman’s Microfinance Open Book Blog. David Roodman combines intelligence, honesty, and a sense of humor. He attempts to bring intellectual rigor to the analysis of the impact of financial services, and isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers in the process.

    Clean Air, Bright Light. This site by Savings Revolution co-founder Paul Rippey contains useful information about lessons learned in using savings groups to promote clean lighting. Still in development but check it out anyway!

    Center for Financial Inclusion. CFI supports traditional microfinance to become more client friendly, more inclusive, and generally smarter. They have a long-term vision for the sector, and the blog attracts many good writers and thoughtful comments.

    Nanci Lee’s blog. Nanci Lee’s eclectic site includes Savings Groups, and also poetry, travel, links to interesting successes around the world, nature, art, women’s rights, and transformation. A very personal blog, and worth reading.







    Financial Promise for the Poor 

    Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Bulld Microsavings is your go-to book on savings groups. Its contributors are authors you often read in this blog. It covers current innovations in microsavings happening around the world.

    Also, don’t miss…

    Savings Groups at the Frontier, the book inspired by the 2011 Savings Group Summit!

    Buy in UK or US.

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    Over the last twenty years, many people have become interested in helping poor people around the world get good financial services. Mohammed Yunus and the institution he founded, the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, won a Noble Prize in 2006 for helping start a movement that has brought financial services to millions around the world. 

    Banks and microfinance institutions are one way to bring financial series to the poor. Savings Groups, managed by the members and based on savings rather than debt, are another solution. In fact, we think they’re such a good solution that they really are revolutionary.

    Savings Groups are self-selected groups of 15 to 30 women and men who get together to save and borrow. Rather than go into debt to an external institution, they manage their own savings through transparent procedures and all the money they earn through interest on loans stays in their village, and in their group.

    This seven-minute video is a great short introduction to savings groups:

    A number of international non-profit organizations work with local partners to train people in villages and cities in how to manage their own savings groups. There are now over five million savings group members in Africa alone, and the movement is also growing in Asia and Latin America. (There are even a few groups in Europe and North America).

    Savings Revolution is designed to help you learn more about Savings Groups, and to get involved with the most exciting new approach to bringing safe financial services to people around the world.


    « North Korea leads world in Savings Groups! »

    Kim Jong-Un, The Glorious Village Agent, has brought village level savings to all Korean peasants, factory workers, and party members. The Great Facilitator invented Savings Groups twelve months ago while piloting his jet fighter and at the very same instant writing an opera of extraordinary beauty. He immediately put in place a cascade training structure that brought these wonderful creations to all the citizens of the Democrate Republic of North Korea in only three days.
    Already, Savings Groups have raised the standard of living of Korean workers, pushing them even further ahead of our brothers and sisters in the South, who toil away in near slavery at Samsung, Boeing and Starbucks. There has never been poverty in our land, but if there had been, SGs would have eradicated it forever! Similarly, all North Korean women have always been completely empowered, but if any misguided woman ever failed to feel empowered, she would now tremble with the revolutionary energy surging from the savings group. Finally, North Koreans enjoy the smoothest incomes in the world, but if they needed income smoothing, our perfectly functioning SGs would make their incomes as smooth as a baby’s bottom. 
    Comrades, the Devil Americans have been trying shamelessly and unsuccessfully to steal the invention of The Supreme Private Service Provider, but their savings groups are of course a poor copy of our own and a complete failure. They exploit the peasants, even going so far as to link member-owned groups to capitalist bankers, the same people who brought the West to its knees by inventing so-called “derivatives”, driving poor people from their homes in all the capitalist countries. Our groups only ask peasants to voluntarily contribute half of their savings to the State, which in turn rewards them with the World’s highest standard of living!
    To share this wonderful triumph, The Most High Community Based Trainer has offered to host SG2017 in Pyongyang, and will thrill visitors with a grand opening military parade of ten thousand soldiers playing the role of “Treasurers”, holding cashboxes high over their heads, while thirty thousand ten year old gymnasts playing “key holders” perform daring acrobatics trying to unlock the boxes, which the soldiers will teasingly pull out of the way at the last minute. The conference, the finest conference ever held, will be called, “SG2017: The Power of Un!”

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    Reader Comments (2)

    Your chances of ever going to North Korea have just vanished.......Happy April fools day......

    Wed, April 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKuria

    To achieve incomes as smooth as baby's bottom is truly an inspiring vision Paul -- thank you!

    And see you in Pyongyang in 2017, where you will doubtless be strolling behind the Great Facilitator, taking notes for Savings Revolution ...

    Wed, April 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett Matthews

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