Each week, CREATE! cooperative members gather to manage their money in Voluntary Savings and Lending Associations (VSLAs). VSLA members save small amounts of money each week and then make loans to each other to cover business, personal, and household costs. Association members are able to save a portion of the profits they receive from participating in CREATE!’s cooperative community garden programs and reinvest those savings into other income generating activities.

Counting VSLA Funds

VSLA members count members’ contributions. All funds are kept in a locked box, monitored by multiple key-holders.

 Voluntary Savings and Lending Associations throughout CREATE!’s partner communities continue to thrive. In the villages of Walo, Gagnick Mack, and Darou Diadji, cooperative members recently formed VSLAs for the first time. Although the Darou Diadji VSLA has only met three times, its leadership is already confident of the group’s success, claiming that they will be able to self-manage their group by their tenth meeting.

VSLA Training in Walo

In October 2015, VSLA members in Walo received training in successful savings and lending strategies.

Our programs empower women to assume positions of leadership in their cooperative groups and communities. Through our VSLA programs, women learn to manage and save their profits from the sale of vegetables and poultry. CREATE! programs foster economic resiliency and build capacity while helping women and their communities on the path towards self-sufficiency.

Tracking Shares with Stamps

Because VSLA members track shares using stamps, literacy is not a requirement for participation.

Absa Ndiaye is a cooperative member in Diender. She appreciates the benefits of CREATE!’s training programs to families in her community. “Many years ago I did not have an occupation. Thanks to CREATE!, I now work in the garden.” Absa is also able to save the money that she earns working in the garden through her participation in Diender’s VSLA. “With VSLA, we can now save or lend money to help solve problems in our village.”