NY Times: An Inclusive Emerging Economy, with Africa in the Lead - CARE
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NY Times: An Inclusive Emerging Economy, with Africa in the Lead

©2010 Josh Estey/CARE
©2010 Josh Estey/CARE

Some of the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa, and one emerging economic growth solution can be attributed to village savings and loan associations (VSLA), an economic solution founded by CARE in Niger in 1991.

CARE’s VSLAs have surpassed four million members in 26 countries throughout Africa. The model has also been adapted by other organizations, such as Catholic Relief Services and Plan International. The New York Times reports that more than nine million Africans, primarily women, have joined VSLA groups over the past five years, and they are operating in 65 countries.

VSLAs are different from the average microfinance model in that it is savings-led and completely self-managed, with members contributing their own capital rather than borrowing from a financial institution. VSLA members deposit their savings in a group lockbox at weekly meetings ­— sometimes as little as 10 cents ­— and earn interest on loans to group members who take out money to start businesses, improve their farms or make other investments in their futures.

Once VSLA members have been trained and skilled at the process, many grow the program on their own by training other villagers. As the groups grow, CARE is leveraging mobile technology to develop solutions for linking the VSLA groups with banks. CARE is working to get banks and telecommunications companies to recognize the financial history and skills of people in VSLA groups, and to offer products and services tailored to their needs.

“We’d like to see savings groups become a pathway for formal financial inclusion,” said Lauren Hendricks, CARE’s Executive Director of Access Africa.

Read The New York Times article here.

 

Resources

VSLAs Adapt to COVID-19

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Unlocking Access, Unleashing Potential (French version)

Débloquer l'Accès, Libérer le Potentiel. Autonomisation de 50 millions de femmes et de filles par le biais d’associations villageoises d...

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Working with Savings Groups During COVID 19 (French)

Un outil de CARE sur comment travailler avec les groupements d'epargne et credit dans le context de COVID 19

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CARE COVID-19 Guidelines for Savings Groups

Savings groups are one of the most consistent and sustainable platforms for community programming across many sectors and contexts. COVID-19 poses crucial health and economic risks for Savings Groups as markets falter, mobility is restricted, and community gatherings are restrained.

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Pennies to Power: VSLA Scaling Strategy

Read about CARE's scaling strategy to go from 7.6 million savings group members in 2019 to 50 million more by 2030.

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CARE Ethiopia Decade of Learning: VSLA/VESA

One of CARE’s innovative and transformative approaches, Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), harnesses the ancient practice of...

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Launched in 2018, the VSLA Scaling strategy is a bold initiative to scale CARE’s VSLAs to reach 50 Million women and girls by 2030.

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SPIR: VESA Learning Brief

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SPIR: Youth Businesses

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SPIR Youth Skill Development Toolkit

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SPIR VESA Brief

VESAs are groups of 15-25 households, brought together as a foundation for all economic and social activities.

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2 page summary highlighting the USAID/Food For Peace funded SPIR program.

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She Feeds the World

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GRAD Learning Brief: Outstanding Loans

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Village, Savings, and Loans Associations: A Case Study – Ghana

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CARE Briefing Paper to the UN HLP Working Group

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VSLA – 25 Years

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CARE International Switzerland – Sudan Marhaba Newsletter 9.13

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Micro-savings: Pathway to Financial Opportunities for Women

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Mind the Gap

Exploring Gender Dynamics of CARE Rwanda’s Village Savings and Loan Programming

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Access Africa Briefing Notes

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Analysis of the ISHAKA Experience

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ISHAKA Toolkit

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The Integration of Social Analysis and Action into SAFI

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Access Africa State of the Sector Report: Closing the Gap

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Access Africa: The Power of Financial Services Program Update – May 2011

Securing capital to start a business or accruing savings is a near impossible task for millions of people in the developing world.

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Access Africa: Equal Access to Financial Services

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Connecting the World’s Poorest People to the Global Economy

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