Rural women have shared over N3.7m loan through the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) scheme in Dambam and Gamawa Local Government Areas of Bauchi State.
Mr Kingsley Yalling, the Programme Manager, Attah Sisters Helping Hands (ASHH) Foundations, coordinated the sharing on Thursday in Dambam local government area of the state.
He said that the VSLA scheme was a microfinance model to reduce poverty by financially and socially empowering the poor and vulnerable people in the communities.
“The strength behind the VSLA methodology is that it encourages a culture of saving among members who are required to save weekly,” he said.
Yalling explained that 24 associations shared among themselves the sum of N3,754,535 from their nine months savings with eight groups from Gamawa and 16 groups from Dambam LGAs.
“In April year, not less than 26 associations of Gamawa and Udubo communities, Dambam/IDP Camp, Gare, Dagauda, Yame and Jalam communities of Dambam LGA, shared-out their savings.
“Members can also borrow from the VSLA using their savings as collateral without necessarily having to sell their property or crop at a cheap price in times of need or emergencies.
“By promoting a culture of saving through the VSLA, farmers can keep their crop during the harvest season and bulk together for sale at a higher price during the off season,” he said.
The programme officer said that VSLAs acts as a financial buffer to rural women from which they could borrow for their urgent needs without having to sell their assets during hard times.
Mrs Maryam Gare, a beneficiary of the VSLA, said that the scheme was the best thing that could happen to them as well as increase their financial skills in the community.
“Some of us received N15,000, others received N20,000, we will use the money to rear goats and engage in other businesses to boost our businesses; we don’t need to go looking for money somewhere.
“We get petty loans from the group and it has improved our business as well as increased our income,” she explained.
Gare said that the association also donated their social funds amount for community development, purchased cartons of chalks for schools, and renovated healthcare centres in their various communities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ASHH Foundation established VSLA in Dambam and Gamawa LGAs with support from ActionAid Nigeria, and funded by Global Affairs of Canada.