Village savings groups give women in Congo’s conflict zones a new start
August 8, 2012 by Sinziana Demian
|Women in South Kivu celebrate the first successful share-out of their village savings group. Groups like this one organize weekly meetings, where women save in the form of buying shares. Photo: Daniela Greco/IRC|
When Chantal attended the information meeting on village savings and loans associations (VSLA), she left incredulous. The facilitator had just told the women from her village that they if they formed a collective to save money and take out loans, they would receive their cash back, plus accumulated interest.
Since most savings group members are illiterate, shares are entered as stars in individual passbooks.
Photo: Daniela Greco/IRC
An IRC staff member helping a savings group in South Kivu calculate the individual amounts to be disbursed at the share-out.
Photo: Benedicte de la Taille/IRC
With the money gained, women typically start small businesses, raise livestock or buy plots of land. They also contribute to household expenses, such as paying school fees for their children.
Photo: Sinziana Demian/IRC