A Manchester-South Africa exchange reveals striking similarities in the dynamics of urban inequality.
“It’s all about trust” said Marie Hampshire, two days into a week-long community exchange with members of the South African Alliance in July 2017, a grassroots movement of women-led savings schemes affiliated to Slum/Shack Dwellers International or SDI. Marie is a member of Mums Mart, a women’s group from Benchill in the British city of Manchester that brings low-income families together around food, monthly markets and, most recently, a new kind of savings scheme.
Each member saves small amounts with the support of their local group, and in the process of coming together the group learns about their needs and challenges and tries to respond collectively. Mums Mart was introduced to savings-based organising after meeting members of the Alliance in Manchester a year earlier. Now, other groups in the city are starting to explore how women’s savings federations could rebuild trust and solidarity in their neighbourhoods.