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by Phil Bartle, PhD

Notes for Participants – Workshop Handout

The purpose of this meeting is to form groups of people, perhaps five to seven persons in each group, and each group will be called a "Trust Group." Each Trust Group will be composed of individuals who know and trust every other member of the group, and is willing to have any other member of the group look after her or his money. An "Umbrella Group" is composed of only members of the Trust Groups


Welcome to this meeting. The purpose today is to form several "Trust Groups." Each Trust Group will be composed of individuals who trust each other to handle their money. Each Trust Group will choose a rotating treasurer to hold the deposits of its members, and it will split any incoming loan into amounts for each individual member to use in a micro enterprise business. You become a member of a trust group only if other members have listed you as a person they can trust.

All the trust groups that are formed here today, will, in turn, be members of an "Umbrella Group" The Umbrella group will obtain a loan of some credit from a bank, and split it up among its member Trust Groups. Each Trust Group, in turn, will split up the loan among its individual members, who use that portion of their loan to invest in a productive activity.

If you are not prepared to engage in your own business activity now, then we respectfully ask you to leave (unless you are assisting a single illiterate individual who is prepared to start her or his own business now).

Non Literates:

This programme is intended for the poorest members of the community. Many of those will not be able to read or write. The forming of the trust groups, today, needs a small amount of written work. If you can read and have come here with a friend who can not read or write, then please take some time now to read the above information to them. We also need you to help in the exercise below where you (and the person you are helping) will write down the names of the persons here that you (and the person you are helping) most trust. (See: Functional Literacy)

If you are a student, or a former student, who can read and write, and you are here to assist a parent or grandparent in this exercise, then please read the above to the person you are helping. You will also be needed in the exercise of choosing the persons in this room that are most trusted. In a previous meeting, we asked the participants to come with their son, daughter, niece, nephew, or trusted relative, to help them in the forming of the Trust Groups.

Choosing People You Can Trust:

The facilitator is writing, or will write, up on the board or wall, a list of every participant in this exercise. Each participant will have a number to help with identification. There is no particular order of names in the list.

The facilitator will then tell you how many names to choose. On the tear off page below, there is room for nine names, although the facilitator might tell you a lower number. In the table below, you write one name (with number) in each cell of the table.

The names you write must be people in this meeting whom you trust the most. You are willing to let them handle your money. If you trust many people, choose only those whom you trust the most.

Put them in order of those you trust the most. The person you trust the most will be in cell number one. If the number of people you trust are fewer than the limit the facilitator says, then only write the people you trust; do not try to fill your list with persons about which you may be unsure.

Your list is confidential. Show it only to the person who is helping you (if you do not read or write), and to the facilitator.

Forming the Trust Groups:

Tear off the table when you have filled it in, keeping this part of the handout if you wish. Hand the filled table to the facilitator (or designated assistant)

The facilitator, perhaps with her or his assistants, will then look at all the filled tables and form groups. For an individual to be put into a group, he or she must be chosen by the other members as being trusted.

If any individual is not listed by other participants as being trusted, they will not qualify to be placed in any trust group.

While the Names are Sorted:

It will take several minutes for the facilitator and her (or his) assistants to sort out the names and put together the Trust Groups. Each Trust Group member will be in a group only other participants have listed her (or his) name. There will be some overlap and duplication so it will take some time for the facilitator to finish the task.

Use this time to review the purpose of this meeting and the objective of forming these groups. Each Trust Group will collect small deposits on a regular basis and combine them with the other trust groups in the Umbrella Group, and make deposits in a bank account. The Umbrella Group, when it qualifies for a loan, will obtain a loan on behalf of all members. The Umbrella group will split the loan among the Trust Groups, and each Trust Group will split its share among its members. Those loans will be used by the individuals as credit to start a micro business.

Each micro business is to be run by an individual member. The Trust Group is a channel for receiving deposits and splitting loans. The Umbrella Group is a collection of Trust Groups that deals with the Bank. Production is an individual responsibility while credit is a group responsibility (ie this will not be a production co-op but a credit co-op).

When the Trust Groups are Formed:

After some time, the facilitator will return to the meeting and announce the names of people in each group. They will be written on the board. If your name is in a group, then it means the other members of that group have indicated their willingness to trust their money with you.

If your name is not in any group listed on the board, then, sorry, not enough other persons in this meeting were willing to trust their money with you. for you to continue on in this process, you must belong to a Trust Group. You could go out of the meeting and collect enough other people who would be willing to join a Trust Group with you, and return to a follow up meeting.

The Facilitator will keep a record of the Trust Groups, and the names of the members in each Trust Group.

The next step is to form an umbrella group. This may be done right after the Trust Groups are formed, or it may be necessary to do it in the next meeting of the participants.

Forming the Umbrella Group:

After the Trust Groups are formed, then the Umbrella Group can be set up. Only members of Trust Groups can be members of the Umbrella Group. The facilitator will help the group to become an organization.

The most common form of organization is to elect an "Executive," consisting of Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and any other officers the group thinks might be necessary. The group may choose to make any other working arrangement.

The groups, composed only of Trust Group members, not the facilitator, not any non-member, will choose the executive of the umbrella group. The facilitator is there to assist the group in making its decisions.

When the executive of the Umbrella Group is formed and recognized by all members. then the facilitator will hand over a copy of the list of trust groups with the names of each member. The executive of the Umbrella Group will then be responsible (guided by the facilitator) in conducting the business of the day.

This may include getting a name for the Umbrella Group, and organizing further meetings and the collection and dispersal of moneys.

There will be training sessions on how to organize and start a business. This training will be organized by the facilitator and the executive.


Your objective is to form trust groups and an umbrella group Trust groups are composed of five to seven individuals who have indicated their willingness to trust each other with their money. The umbrella group is composed only of members of the trust groups.

The organization of the trust groups and the umbrella group is for the handling of money only, not for productive activities. The individual members each will be responsible for starting and running a separate micro business activity. There will be training in handling money and in how to organize and run a micro business activity.

Forming these groups (umbrella and trust) may be done in a single meeting, or through two or more meetings.

Sample form for participants to set up trust groups:

Persons I Trust:

Fill in the following table, one name per cell, of people attending this meeting whom you would trust with your money. This list is confidential. Tear this off, after you fill it, and give it ot the facilitator. Please print in block letters.

My Name: ________________________________

1. 2. 3.
4. 5. 6.
7. 8. 9.


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Last update: 2010.05.25

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