Last week, twenty-six CREATE! community members and volunteers joined the ranks of more than seven million people worldwide–six million of them in Africa–who have been trained in the Voluntary Savings and Lending Association (VSLA) approach to managing their own money.

This hands-on, highly participatory 3-day training program was led by CREATE! Field Technicians Oumar Ka and Macky Ndour, with support from Country Director Sidiki Kanneh and Finance Director Omar Seck.  Members of the Fass Koffe cooperative gardening group prepared lunch for us each day at the CREATE! Training and Demonstration Center.

Participants listened intently to the explanation of the program offered by our field team during classroom sessions and collaborated enthusiastically in a dozen practice meetings that encompassed the entire VSLA annual “cycle”.

For rural villagers who may not be able to read or write and whose needs are rarely met by for-profit financial institutions, the VSLA provides a highly appropriate and transparent system for group saving, lending and social insurance.

VSLA is also a great fit with the philosophy and approach of CREATE!. We are pleased to be able to offer our community members an appropriate and sustainable response to their felt need for more control and transparency in the management of their own money and look forward to accompanying them on the path to financial self-sufficiency.


Community members at the VSLA training held at the CREATE! Appropriate Technology and Training Center in Fass Koffee, Senegal.

Training participants listen intently as Macky explains the VSLA approach.


Opening the cash box at the beginning of a practice session.

Key holders open locked cash box at the beginning of a VSLA practice meeting.


A community member purchasing shares at a practice session.

VSLA members save by purchasing shares at the Association meeting.



Click here for more photos from the training