Investing in Independence


Start a Village Savings and Loan Group in Mali

Cost: $54

Invest in women and girls, empower the future! Village Savings & Loan Groups (VSLA) are a CARE innovation, creating economic opportunities for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

VSLA participants are primarily women who work together to save and build their financial resources. Members contribute a small amount to the group savings monthly, and lend to a group member so she can start or expand a business, access education or health care, or purchase food for her family. She then pays the loan back with a manageable amount of interest and the savings continue to grow. Since 1991, CARE has established more than 125,000 such groups in 26 African countries and served more than 2.5 million members. The VSLA model started in Africa and has proven so successful it has spread to vulnerable communities worldwide.

Sekina Mohammed is a 25 year old who lives in a poverty-stricken and food insecure village. Sekina is part of her community’s VSLA, where she acts as chairwoman and earns some income through petty trading. Sekina took a loan from her group to invest in her farm land and start a small business. Now, she is not just a successful farmer; she is also a paralegal advisor. She actively mediates disputes amongst spouses in her community. “I am sustaining my children’s lives by providing them with enough food, [the VSLA] has brought me a great change in my life. It opened my eyes,” - Sekina.

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