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Samir Diedong's Fundraiser:

Women's financial literacy, Jirapa-Upper West Region, Ghana

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THE STORY:

PROJECT OVERVIEW Village Savings & Loans Associations (VSLA) VSLA, stands for Village Savings and Loans Associations. VSLA provides financial assistance to community members by lending out loans and encouraging people to expand their financial knowledge and use this knowledge to redefine their economic standing. VSLAs give some of the poorest people, especially women, access to savings and credit services, enabling them to invest in small businesses and break out of the cycle of poverty. READ creates and trains VSLA groups, providing them with the basics for micro-enterprise creation. READ staffs gave basic training to each of the VSLA Groups on a variety of topics: • Rules and regulations of VSLA • Accounts training • Leadership development Training • Capacity building training • Entrepreneurs Training • Self-employment Training The goal of this program is to promote savings and credit activities, and to promote micro-enterprise development. This can lead to a strong and permanent improvement of their socio-economic conditions in a number of ways: • Initiation of savings and credit activities and promotion of income generating programs in these VSLA groups will bring more economic development and independence to these women and their families. Because of the better welfare of these families, more children will be able to attend school instead of being forced into agricultural child labor. • Most disadvantaged rural women and men become organized into groups. The formation of these VSLA groups will facilitate discussion of many issues pertaining to their socio-economic, educational and health status. Thus, the formation of this group provides a forum to initiate many participatory activities (including training and awareness camps). • This process will also lead to increased confidence and social status, especially for women, in their communities. This will encourage these women to participate and contribute in general social and political matters in their respective villages, including women's rights. Success stories Pioneering VSLA in Konzokala and Yagha Communities in the Jirapa District of the Upper west Region shared their successes at a community forum; stemming from their inability to increase trades in various businesses, the village women joined the VSLA in 2015 and have since been contributing and making their periodic savings. Many neighboring communities are seeking to be involved into the VSLA concept and other households in the communities beyond the existing ones due to the feasible benefits enjoyed by those involved. They express happiness for the support from the VSLA social fund assistance, pay their children’s school fees and donation of fixed financial amount to bereaved members. Project outcomes 600 women, from 20 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VLSA), will have increased skills in financial literacy and business management Sustainability The issue of sustainability is very crucial in any development project. Under the present project there will be development of skills of the beneficiaries. VSLA programme is anticipating continuation after the project ends. Towards this end, READ will build the capacity of VSLA Agents from the villages to become finance trainers for the project. READ staff will identify the VAs from the VSLA groups (or the groups themselves nominate one or two women) who fulfill the selections criteria – e.g. are able to read and write, have good interpersonal skills and are willing to work voluntarily with a small contribution from the community. READ then seeks approval from the village leadership to appoint them as VAs. In order to do this, READ will train the VAs in savings and borrowing, financial budgeting and planning, managing risks and wise borrowing. All 600 beneficiaries will receive capacity building training. Funding The money READ Ghana receives will go towards training 600 women on financial literacy such as savings and borrowing, financial budgeting and planning, managing risks and wise borrowing. Budget • Purchase of 20 VSLA boxes and accessories, US $ 3, 000 • Training materials on management and records keeping, US $ 970 Total: UD $ 3970 Our Partners & Networks Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Jirapa District The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is the Ministry charged with the development and growth of agriculture in the country with the exception of the Cocoa-Coffee and Forestry sector. Its primary roles are the formulation of appropriate agricultural policies, planning and co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation within the overall national economic development. AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control Limited (AGA MAL LTD) , Jirapa District AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control Limited (AGAMal) operates Indoor Residual Spraying in Ghana in partnership with the Ghana Health Service and funding from the Global Fund. AGAMal has employment opportunities for suitably qualified and experienced professionals to join its management team. READ coordinate with AGAMal LTD in their In Door Residual Spraying exercise in communities Jirapa and Nadowli districts to prevent Shea Nuts from being contaminated.

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