Banking on Savings
How do you save when you only make a few dollars a day and lack formal banking services?
- The lack of sustainable financial programs in rural Africa make it difficult for the poor to start new businesses, replace broken farm equipment, or survive in times of crisis.
- In desperation, they are forced to seek out loan sharks who charge exploitative interest rates, which perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
Through Village Savings Groups, you’ll provide families opportunities to save and access loans so that they can start new businesses, send children to school, and have money in times of emergency.
These groups of 25 to 30 individuals (usually women) meet together weekly to save, and provide mutual support and accountability. Through the process, members receive mentoring on bookkeeping, administration, and business principles.
Over the last year
Tearfund works with local church leaders to identify those in most need.
Groups are formed with 20 to 30 individuals. Members select their own officers and set up their own bylaws.
Members make weekly deposits and begin to accumulate savings. They can take out loans at an agreed-upon rate.
Members start investing in new tools, land, or businesses. Their income grows.
For a period of 12 months, groups receive mentoring and become self-managed.
The Multiplying Factor
Village Savings Groups not only change lives of individuals but transform entire communities. Often, several groups will come together and tackle community projects. Collectively, groups have been known to buy land together, fix bridges and roads, sponsor orphans, and even build schools!