This paper focuses on risk management strategies of the poor people to cope with the crisis situation as it temporarily or permanently disrupts the income stream of the household to meet their basic needs. There are a variety of risk management strategies employed by the poor in the East African countries of Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. These include investments in human, physical, financial and social assets. The objective of this report is to assess the financial needs of poor communities in East Africa, and to evaluate existing programs in order to determine potential savings products that not only address those needs but address those needs in a manner best suited to the capabilities and desires of the targeted communities. It details out a framework suggested by Rahman and Hossain for analysing risk that considers the extent to which a specific disruption can be anticipated, and hence planned for, as well as the degree to which these disruptions affect the choice of responses. The risks have been classified as life cycle risks related to events such as marriage, birth, education, healthcare, widowhood, old age, death etc, structural risks such as changes in national or international economy and crisis risks that are sudden and unexpected. It also explains in detail the responses of various informal, semi-formal and formal institutions to these needs through designing client focused products and service delivery innovations to counter these risks.

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