As a self-sustainable and self-replicating mechanism, ACFODE has identified the Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) model as a vehicle for inculcating a saving culture and access to small credit, to enable women acquire and own productive resources, for gain of economic empowerment. This approach was seen as appropriate and relevant for women in the rural areas in Lango Sub-region, and specifically Dokolo and Apac Districts where access to formal credit facilities is difficult.
A representative from Dokolo District presents areas their VSLA group needs improvement on
To establish sustainable economic responses for the women, ACFODE carried out an assessment of women groups which was concluded with a selection of eight (8) and four (4) women groups from Apac and Dokolo respectively. The women groups selected were already organized as VSLAs and are categorized as women living positively with HIV&AIDS, young women, women farmer groups, women groups engaged in saving together, youth drama groups and groups entailing both women and men.
While the VSLA groups already supplement their income with earnings from small-scale business activities, they don’t have knowledge of or experience in saving and borrowing money for investing in businesses and other income generating activities. To address this, and to make full use of the VSLAs’ enormous potential as triggers of local economic growth, ACFODE offered training to 60 women representatives of the selected groups in; group formation and general assembly, VSLA concepts and principles, VSLA leadership placement, elements of internal rules and regulations, development of association bye-laws, introduction of record keeping, conflict resolution and management, and action audit of the VSLAs.
Participants engaged in group discussion
The training exposed the participants to VSLA concepts and principles that they had earlier not conceived well, and came in timely to help them avert practices in their VSLAs that they were silently suffering with. The training will also prepare the selected groups to participate in activities that consolidate the objectives and concepts of the project; that is using wealth creation as a tool for empowering women.
To demonstrate their happiness about the training, one of the participants concluded as follows; “I thank ACFODE for this training because it has been an eye opener to all the groups present. In our group, members would borrow the loan three times before clearing the first loan, but today we have learnt that, under Village saving and loan association (VSLA) methodology, no top up loan is allowed before the member clears the first loan”.
Gender & Economic Policy Department