Thursday, 3 April 2014


Village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) bring together small groups of people, usually 20 to 30 members. As the name suggests, the model is based on savings rather than debt, and, leaves the spending control in the hands of members instead of professionals.  These groups can be empowering for members, particularly women, by improving their capacity to manage money and creating access to microloans generated from each group’s savings. In the financial year 2012/2013 alone, IDF supported the creation of 38 new VSLAs (16 in Rakai, 12 in Kibale and 10 in Sironko) with 1,031 members; 90% of whom are women, with savings of 175,845,450.

Kibale Civil Society Network (KCSON) employed the VSLA model for the IDF funded project 2012/2014.  It was designed to help the poorest save as well as, a mobilization tool through which human rights information is channeled, since many are not attractive to traditional microfinance institutions.  “What is really interesting and powerful is that they (VSLAs) are self-generating. The cohesion between the people is really strong. They trust one another and are willing to experiment together.” said Paul Mulindwa, KCSONS Coordinator. 

He adds that for many people in Uganda, saving is a myth rather than a reality and a notion associated with the financial institutions like banks, yet spending is a daily and even if one has no money; he/she will borrow to spend. This situation was not different with people of Akayoro Village in Kezimbira parish-Mugarama Sub County in Kibaale district until the intervention of KCSON. With support from Independent Development Fund (IDF), KCSON facilitated the formation of a Village saving and Loan association (VSLA) in Akayoro Village in Mugarama S/C –Kibaale district.

After receiving the training in saving and promotion of Human rights in May 2013 the group (Abalihamu Buroro Akayora), the group members embarked on saving.  As a result of continuous saving and borrowing, the group’s total share by the end of December 2013 was UGX.2, 061,000 compared to UGX 300,000 they started with. The group members have been able to borrow and invest with most of them setting up small retail shops and others doing petty business such as market vending. This has enabled them to support their children’s rights to education and other necessities.
In Rakai District, Kagamba Sub County (Kasankala parish under the Rakai Community Based Rights Project supported by Independent Development Fund (IDF), Bivamuntuyo VSLA group shared out shillings 2,450,000= (Two million four hundred fifty thousand), after 8 months of their savings. As a result members have managed to pay school fees for their children  and others have also purchased land for their agricultural projects.