Voluntary Savings and Loans (VSL), a village banking initiative operating in Ngabu, Chikwawa district, has generated K11.4 million in savings from community members in the area.
VSL is an initiative under the Family Adoption Project initiated by Stephanos Foundation and comprises about 28 groups whose savings sums up the money.
The project, started in 2008, is aimed at empowering communities economically.
Stephanos Foundation Programmes Manager, Chimwemwe Hara, said there has been progress in terms of economic growth for various families in the community and that savings have grown 10 percent, to K11 million from K10 million last year.
“This area was hit by floods but we can see that these people were able to source something, save and even be able to grant loans to others,” Hara said VSL district field officer for Chikwawa, Bonwell Nkhuku, said the one significance of the initiative in the district is that it is being largely driven by women.
He said there is also increased appreciation on the importance savings money at the bank.
One of the beneficiaries of the project, 43 year-old Agnes Jekabu, said her family has greatly improved in terms of food security which was most critical before the coming in of the Foundation.
“I now have 29 goats, I own a cow, a good house and I’m able to pay school fees for my son in secondary school without any problem,” said Jekabu.
The project is also being implemented in Thyolo and Blantyre districts.