March 14, 2018
The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs recently launched the Village Savings and Loan Scheme project to help build the financial capacity of women in rural communities.
Isata Kabia described the scheme as a village bank owned exclusively by villagers, and that it would be a partnership between her ministry and women of Sierra Leone.
According her, the aim of the project was to help transform the lives of rural women and encourage them to save their money for future purposes.
“The scheme will be very helpful and if women put seriousness in it, they will reap the benefit. I introduce this scheme when I was serving as a Member of Parliament in Lunsar and it was successful,” she said and added that the intention was to ensure that the scheme is replicated across the country.
With regards the operation of the scheme, Minister Kabia stated that they have brought together 150 women who will divide themselves into five groups with each group having the responsibility of choosing the amount they will contribute weekly into a giant metallic box given to them by the ministry.
“The money contributed will be saved for future purposes. When the money reaches a particular amount, members will have the chance to loan themselves without interest when they are in dire need. To ensure the safety of the money, three locks will be provided for the box with the keys kept by three members of the group,” she explained.
The Social Welfare Minister pledged to put Le1, 000,000 in each of the boxes as a startup and encouraged the various groups to continue from that point, while assuring that if the groups properly managed the affairs of the scheme, it would give the ministry zeal to include more women.
Coordinator of the scheme, Sheku Kanu, explained that the village saving and loan scheme was established purely to encourage women to imbibe the culture of savings and maintained that the project seeks to cater for women that are involved in small scale businesses.
“The scheme will enable the economic empowerment of women and provide them the opportunity to be self-reliant. I want to encourage the immediate beneficiaries to be proactive as the success of the scheme lies squarely in their hands,” he said.