WUZDA Ghana has as part of its operations introduced the Village Savings and Loans concept to invigorate the spirit of savings in the community members and help raise their livelihood involvement in development.
The Village Savings and Loans scheme also provides community members an opportunity to contribute to the development of their areas through the money they contribute.
It has been found that the poor and marginalized need access to very small amounts of credit to help smooth incomes, meet predictable expenses, and reduce shocks in emergencies.
Once cash flow has been stabilized, these populations can make better choices around health, education and nutrition, and as well, may invest in income generating activities.
WUZDA – Ghana is therefore implementing the VSLA initiative to help members in its operational communities mobilise their own financial resources on their own to help raise their living standards.
The concept has members of the community choosing their own to spearhead and supervise the contribution of money periodically as per agreed by all members of the group.
WUZDA Ghana has given intensive practical training to those chosen by the community members to oversee the proper operation of the VSLA.
The idea behind making community members lead in the activities of the savings and loans is to ensure transparency, ownership by the community and to promise sustainability after WUZDA Ghana ends the project.
So far 93 community members out of which 43 are women and 50 men, are involved in the VSLA in 6 communities with others waiting to get on board.
In August 2017, the 93 members contributed up to GH¢978.00. According to the Marketing officer for WUZDA Ghana, Yakubu Abdul Shakun Salpawuni, this figure has shot up significantly from August which the team is still compiling with the community members for updates later.
He also said some community members are on the waiting list to be enrolled into the initiative which would raise the numbers of contributors from the current figure.
The initiative which is expected to run concurrently with the other components of the Farm Promoting Urban Waste for Livelihood and Food security project is being earmarked to be the bedrock of solution to many other community problems.
It has also been found to be supplement for the other project components.
Explaining how this is the case, WUZDA Ghana programme manager, Mr. Abdul Karim Ziblim says if the communities are able to fully embrace the initiative, it will go a long way to provide them with the opportunity to solve their own problems without having to wait for any authority to do so for them.
Contributions in the VSLA concept are done mostly in metal boxes where members agree on how much to put in them at a particular time based on their current financial strengths in terms of daily income. These boxes are kept under lock and key until such a time when accounts are required to be done for all members to know how much has been realized.
The amounts realized are saved in banks once they reach an agreed amount by all members.
These contributions are then saved and supervised by representatives chosen by the community members themselves and given as loans when a member needs it for expansion of their businesses and other trades.
Members of communities in the initiative have expressed their satisfaction with the introduction with some saying they did not know they can take charge of their own livelihood empowerment without waiting for any government or individual to come and do that for them.