Having access to financial services either through formal or informal organizations people are able to start and expand businesses, invest in education, manage risk and financial shocks which can improve the overall quality of their lives. In Malawi there is low visibility of formal financial service providers in the rural areas where a majority of the population live. The only viable and convenient means to access financial services in rural areas has been through community based financial organizations, Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) being one of them
Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO) through a project called Rural Livelihoods Enhancement Through Strengthening and Support for Community Based Financial Organizations with funding from Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprise (FARMSE) is mobilizing and strengthening community based financial organizations (VSLAs and SACCOs) that will contribute to improved livelihoods through agricultural productivity in Chitipa district.
Members of Tubepoka VSLA at Temweka Irrigation Scheme
Tubepoka VSLA is a fifteen-member group comprising of fourteen women and one man from Kaseye village, Mwenechendo Group Village Headman, Traditional Authority Mwabulamya in Chitipa district was established in December 2018 strengthened by MUSCCO. Through borrowing finances, members are able to buy farm inputs like seed and fertilizers enabling to venture into irrigation farming. In their own words through the chairperson of the group Agnes Kayange they said “we are happy to see our crops in the plots which look promising and we are hoping for a bumper harvest this season.”She encourages others to join savings and loan groups
Tubepoka VSLA members standing in front of a maize plot belonging to one of them
SACCO MEMBERS WELCOME BUSINESS OPERATION OF TIPINDULE COMMUNITY SACCO
TIPINDULE COMMUNITY SACCO is a member owned financial cooperative society offering financial services to its members. Formed on 3rd March 2018, with financial and technical support from CDF and MUSCCO the SACCO was granted a license by the regulator on 30th June 2020, to operate as a primary savings and credit cooperative society. The SACCO draws its membership from rural communities of Dowa and surrounding areas through cooperatives, Village savings and loan Associations (VSLAs), clubs, smallholder farmers and individuals.
"Women farmers accessing financial services at the Tipindule SACCO in Mponela"
TIPINDULE SACCO recognizes the challenge of working capital and lack of security of member funds for its members hence introduction of teller made products and services. It offers ordinary savings and fixed deposits to its members at a very competitive rate. The growth of deposit portfolio is mainly through Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs). Cooperatives are also accessing agriculture and agri-business loans. Financial literacy training through Invest Project has deepened the understanding of the value of savings at household level.
TIPINDULE SACCO is a solution to people living in Dowa and surrounding areas. It has enhanced financial services access through cooperatives and VSLAs. Felia Sikubweza is one of SACCO members and this is what she said, “I joined Tipindule SACCO in 2018 as an individual member. I am a member of Nakalambiranji cooperative and Tilipo VSLA. My cooperative and VSLA are also members of the SACCO. I save regularly with the SACCO. Our VSLA funds are now safe. We thank Tipindule SACCO for the good initiative.’’
TIPINDULE SACCO promotes financial inclusion especially to marginalized rural community farmers and runs a mobile service which allows farmers to put the money they would have used as transport into their own household savings.
Tilipo and Pamodzi VSLAs accessing Tipindule SACCO mobile services at Nachisaka EPA.