Trax Ghana works in vulnerable communities where there is high level of illiteracy and members such as widows, divorced or separated women, school drop outs, etc have little opportunity to borrow from financial institutions due to lack of collateral security. The purpose of a VSLA is to provide simple savings and loan facilities in such communities that do not have easy access to formal financial services. VSLA is therefore important that it acts as a village bank and therefore save members from traveling long distances to access financial agencies like banks, micro finance institutions and other lending agencies. It enhances individual savings and promotes a culture of saving within the community. These all help to enhance their standard of living and in addition help to reduce the unemployment of VSLA members.
Trax Ghana with its years of experience in community development, introduced the simple-self financial management VSLA concept to its farmer groups at Kabusgo in the Bongo district of the Upper East region of Ghana. Group members were trained on simple book-keeping and share-out methodologies to enable them manage their mobilized resources effectively in order to improve their financial status and livelihoods.
Adignongo group members agree on individual shares (contribution) for share-out
Trax Ghana VSLA group members at Kabusgo carried out their end of third cycle shared-out on 14th December, 2016. The Field Officer (FO) supervised the share out of Adignongo and Asungtaaba as separate groups. The Adignongo VSLA group with a membership of thirty (30), mobilized a total Loan Fund (LF) of Ghc12,813.00 at the end of fifty-two weeks saving cycle. Prior to the share-out, the Adignongo group bought thirty (30) plastic chairs which amounted to GHC840.00 from their LF, leaving a balance of Ghc11,973.00 for share-out. The decision was to open another business opportunity for the group in the community by renting out the chairs on request for community gatherings besides their own use during meetings.
Members of the Adignongo group pose with 30 plastic chairs bought
At the share-out, one Victoria Akazoni had the highest amount of Ghc1, 544.00 and the lowest amount of Ghc80.00 was collected by Augustina Anafo. The Asungtaaba group on the other hand with a membership of twenty-eight (28) also mobilized a total LF of Ghc8, 028.00. Ayinbisa Ayine received the highest amount of Ghc778.00 and the lowest amount received was Ghc48.00.
Members of the Adignongo group full of smiles with their share-out
At the end of the share-out exercise, the group members could not hide their joy. They express their gratitude to Trax Ghana for introducing them to the VSLA which is helping to transform their lives in the community. They also revealed that, their businesses have improved tremendously as a result of share-out VSLA loans and are now able to pay their children school fees, have access to health care because they now have money to register and renew their National Health Insurance premium regularly, which comes from their Social Fund (SF) contributions as well as have enough food to feed the family throughout the year since they no longer sell their foodstuffs or animals to pay school fees and meet other basic family needs as it used to be in the past.
Many of the women have confirmed that the intervention had improved upon their living conditions; particularly the well being of their children and Trax Ghana intends to expand the intervention in the future to cover more vulnerable working communities.