A Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) is group of 15 to 25 people who save together and take small loans from those savings. Members of VSLA are organized and trained on VSLA methodology including Management committee, meeting procedure, saving, Social fund, loan disbursement, loan repayment and Action audit, etc. The activities of VSLA run in cycles, the first cycle runs for 9 months and the second for a year and so on; after which the accumulated savings and the loans profits are shared out among the members according to the amount an individual have saved for that period. VSLAs are member-managed and it is intended to improved livelihood through expansion of income generating activities.
SHIFSD established 53 VSLA groups in Margibi and Montserrado counties with 25 groups in 15 communities in Margibi and 28 groups in 17 communities in Montserrado County. Initially the project target was to establish 51 groups but due to high demand for VSLA in the targeted communities, SHIFSD established additional two groups. All 53 groups received training in all the VSLA modules (module 1 to module 7). Quality check was conducted to appraise each of the 53 groups and conducted additional training where needed. All the groups completed the first and second phase of change with regular supervision.
The project started with 1312 beneficiaries (459 males and 853 females) but completed the first sitting with 1236 beneficiaries (419 males and 817 females). The numbers reduced due to death, fear of Ebola virus, change of address and other reasons.
Most of the VSLA groups did extremely well in term of saving, loan repayment and investment. Many of the beneficiaries, most of whom are women took advantage of the loan opportunity provided by the VSLA by investing in small business initiatives, housing and agriculture.