What is ASSET?
Advancing Stewardship • Social Enterprise • Training (ASSET) is a new strategic initiative designed to scale up Chalmers' international impact and reach in the Majority World.
Since 1999, the Chalmers Center has pioneered the development of holistic, church-centered savings group ministries overseas. In contrast to the traditional, credit-led approach to microfinance, the Chalmers Center promotes what's now considered a game changer within the microfinance space: the promotion of savings groups in poor communities.
Savings groups have become the cutting edge of microfinance because:
- Eliminate the need for outside capital
- Are user-owned and operated
- Build on indigenous knowledge
- Offer finance for emergencies, life cycle needs, and business investment
- Are easy to implement; are self-replicating
- Can operate in rural areas (where 70% of the world's poor live)
- Are lower cost per beneficiary
- Can reach the “extreme” poor
The Chalmers Center augments savings groups with biblically based educational training in small business, household financial literacy, and health topics.
To dramatically increase both the scale and depth of its training, ASSET is utilizing an innovative distribution strategy: low-overhead Mobile Training Centers that sell curricula, training, and mentoring to grassroots churches.
Each Mobile Training Center is run by two indigenous Christian leaders whose passion is to equip churches in the farthest corners of their region to use gospel-focused savings groups as a means of holistic ministry.
For reasons of dignity, credibility, and ownership, it is crucial that these grassroots churches pay something for the training they receive. However, because these churches cannot afford the full training cost, their payments will be matched by scholarship funds raised and administered by Titus Teams—groups of five to nine Christian professionals, business people, and ministry leaders who will encourage and financially support this social enterprise.
This 3-year field research project aims to develop a new training platform to offer existing and new partners in the majority world.
The Chalmers Center is presently seeking Christian individuals, groups, and churches interested in forming the first four Titus Teams. The first four teams will each partner with a Mobile Training Center in West Africa for a three-year pilot program.