Tuesday, October 22, 2013

VSL magic; women dreaming big in Lilongwe

By Levie Chiwenda
The Village banking system commonly known as Village Saving and Loan (VSL) continues to unleash magic spells as women in Tradtional Authouty Tsabango in Lilongwe are now dreaming big after accumulating huge sums of money.
During the last share out event at Group Village Nkhulawe in 2012, Chikondi  VSL Group accumulated K580, 000 ( about $1, 450) and Elizabeth Lemani  got the highest share of K62, 000 (about $155) and the second highest share went to Rose Shaibu, who got K60,000 (about  $150).
Elizabeth and her cow

Elizabeth, 50 and divorced bought a cow for milk and four bags of fertilizer which she used to harvest 40 bags of maize during  the 2012 and 2013 agriculture season, the highest achievement for a single woman at an advanced age. Rose shaibu, also divorced bought six bags of fertilizer and harvested 48 bags of maize and she has kept some to be sold during the anticipated hunger period between December 2013 and February 2014 when maize price goes up.
Rose Shaibu at her house
During the 2013 share out cycle, the 20-member VSL group had K925, 520 to share (about $2, 314)and again Elizabeth and Rose hit the highest with K90,000 and K75, 000 respectively. At the close of the share out event, Elizabeth’s joy was over pouring and she said in an interview that she was planning to invest more in future in order to buy a maize mill.  In a separate interview, Rose hinted that she would buy more land and invest in farming.

ADRA Malawi, through the Action for Social Change Program has facilitated formation  and is supporting 56 VSL groups in the area and with success records reported, more VSL groups are mushrooming through  village agents. On average, women membership in the groups constitutes 90%.
Members of Chkondi VSL display cash during share out
The Action for Social Change Program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Lilongwe, Machinga, Mulanje and Mzimba districts.
  The outlook of the village communities is now changing as the banking system has revived hope for quick economic recovery and is seen as the best method of rising women self esteem.

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