Our Beneficiary Women Group Embrace VSLA as an adaptive measure to climate change
When Maendeleo Barding Women group in South East Ward in Alego Usonga, Siaya County started some months ago, there is nothing much they anticipated. They underrated themselves because of their humble backgrounds.
To enhance their development, the group had started holding group meetings where in every meeting they would raise some money from which they would put as savings. Unfortunately, the savings were small and could not help them much because they would save very little amounts of money and that they used to buy members food stuffs in turn.
This group is among the 19 women self -help groups Siaya Muungano Network engages through its community facilitators with information on climate change, gender mainstreaming in climate change response, advocacy strategies, feminism in climate change advocacy and identification of local solutions to climate change. During one of their engagements at group level, the women were sensitized on the importance of VSL as a local solution to climate change where they were able to learn how village loaning and savings are important aspects in building women resilience to climate change. This became an interesting topic to the group that after the session, the women decided to increase the amount of money they save and in the subsequent months give out loans to members to invest in other projects which could generate income and pay back with interests. They went ahead to open a bank account where they could put the savings.
The women attest of greater benefits as after their savings grew at the end of every month, members took small loans and put in other meaningful engagements that generated for them income.
Today, the concept of village loaning and savings has grown in the group and the members who were previously considered unbankable can now access credit comfortably from the group savings.
Through the loaning and savings, the group members have been able to be empowered economically through access to financial resources and be able to cop up with climate change shocks. With this, members of the group have managed to diversify their income through venturing into different income generating activities such as growing Napier grass, sweet potatoes and groundnuts for sale.
“Thanks to Siaya Muungano Network for building our capacity on VSL and boosting our group savings, we are now able to cop up with climate change shocks,” says Caren Auma Owaga, one of the group’s members.