Elke Jahns-Harms recently completed her PhD at the Fletcher School, where her dissertation research focused on whether and how savings groups can help poor rural households cope with shocks. Based in Central America, this work provides insights on the potential of such groups in a relatively new context. In addition, her findings underline the importance of aligning group policies and priorities with seasonal cash flow (as described in this short blog post).
As a research consultant for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in El Salvador and Guatemala, Elke studied the impacts of savings groups and the effects of climate change on poor farming families. Previously, she was an International Development Fellow for CRS in Tanzania, where she collaborated on projects related to sustainable agriculture, HIV/AIDS, and women’s empowerment.
Earlier, Elke worked as an Environmental Planner and Educator with the Peace Corps in Chile, and as a Program Manager for WorldTeach, a non-profit organization affiliated with Harvard University that trains volunteers to teach in developing countries.
Currently, Elke teaches in the areas of development and financial inclusion. She also performs professionally on classical and Native American flutes. She holds a PhD in International Development from the Fletcher School, a Master of Public Affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, a Master of Music from Appalachian State University, and a BA in Geology and Environmental Science from Rice University.
Elke contributed the first chapter to CEME Fellow Kim Wilson’s book, Financial Promise for the Poor: How Groups Build Microsavings(Kumarian Press/ Sylus Publishing, 2010).