“Most people cannot progress in life because they lack financial discipline and they allow money to manage them instead of them managing the money”, noted Ms Grace Ebito, a participant from Dokolo District. Take for instance; a number of people will testify to purchasing piles of things which they have never used, little do they know the financial implication this has on them.
In order to curb such and more vices, ACFODE conducted a two-day training at Grand pacific hotel-lira for Executive leaders (Chairpersons, secretaries and Treasurers) of 12 Village Savings and Loans Associations groups (VSLA) from Apac and Dokolo districts with the aim of facilitating and sustaining economic growth and efficiency.
The training focused on Financial Literacy, Investment and Financial Inclusion. It took place from 5th to 6th July 2017, targeting 40 participants (14M&26F) from the six sub-counties of Akokoro, Chegere and Ibuje sub counties in Apac district and, Bata, Kangai sub counties in Dokolo district. During the training, participants from all the 12 VSLA groups shared their experiences on income generating activities they had initiated, achievements and how they have been able to increase the share value of their stamps and capital loan fund.
The chairperson Obanga Kura Child mother’s group from Akokoro sub-county Apac District pointed out that, before ACFODE intervention their minimum savings was 1000/= and the maximum was 5000/= but after the intervention group members managed to initiate a number of Income Generating Activities (IGA) such as produce buying &selling, fish trade as well as bakery.
As such they increased the weekly saving share value of their stamp to a minimum of 2000/= and maximum of 10,000/=.
Ms Lilly Acungu, Chair Person Obanga Kura sharing her experience.
In 2015, the group received 1,000,000/= as grant from ACFODE and during share out last year 2016, members left 600,000/= and added it to the ACFODE grant to sum up to 1,600,000/= as loan capital. The group also involves in group farming (animal husbandry and cultivation) and this is their main source of income from which they are able to maximize savings.
Participants also shared their experiences on investments and which financial institution they would prefer to borrow money from incase they wanted to invest for the future. Most participants preferred borrowing money from banking institutions and in particular Centenary Bank given their low charges.
Mr. Acono Mosese, Bata Sub County during experience sharing
“I would only borrow money from centenary bank because they really serve the interest of the farmers by providing agricultural loan and giving home improvement loan at a very low interest rate”, said a participant from Dokolo District.
However, one of the participants highlighted some of the challenges people get when they rush into conducting investment, “My brother was awarded a contract to supply maize and beans at St. Magret primary school for one (1) year. But the head teacher who was in charge was transferred to another school before he could be fully cleared. So when the new head teacher came, he declined paying his (my brother’s) money due to lack of proper documents showing how the maize and beans was supplied. This forced my brother to seek legal redress in court and after a long legal battle the court ordered the school to pay him in installments”, narrated a participant.
Participants were encouraged to always keep record of all their transactions to avoid such scenarios and for any future reference. They were also reminded to always distinguish between investments and obligation, for instance paying school fees is not an investment but an obligation.
As the training was coming to an end, representatives of financial institutions such as Centenary Bank, Finca and Brac took this opportunity to make presentations highlighting the services they offer and opportunities for VSLA groups and Individual members in their respective institutions.
ACFODE emphasized that, the essence of bringing the representatives of financial institutions was to link the participants to the Banks and make them know the available services offered and opportunities that they can utilize.