On June 20th, the women’s Voluntary Savings and Lending Association (VSLA) in Fass Koffe met to wrap up their first savings and lending cycle. Members received payouts ranging between $25 and $120, based on their individual share ownership. In this community, where the average annual income is around $350, participation in VSLA provides a significant boost to household income. Even a “small” payout of $25 represents a large return on investment for these women, many of whom contributed around 20 cents each week during the past nine months. For the second savings and lending cycle, participants will double the price of an individual share to increase their collective savings and lending capacity.
The Fass Koffe VSLA timed the payout of their first savings and lending cycle to coincide with the end of the Senegalese dry season and the beginning of Ramadan. For many Senegalese families, this is a lean time when few resources are available and demands for household goods and new clothing are high. By participating in VSLA, women in Fass Koffe are able to save their earnings from the CREATE! cooperative gardens to successfully feed and care for their families during times of need. Many participants in this community also own stands in the local market; for these women, loans through VSLA are an opportunity to expand and diversify their inventory.