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