POWER Africa Year 2
Project implementation progress, midway through the programme
Linkage is beginning in Côte d'Ivoire, Rwanda, and Burundi, and is being supported by continued financial literacy and education training to prepare groups to open accounts with local financial service providers.
Average loan size per member: $7.00
Average savings per member: $3.90
Average savings per member: $9.61
Average loan size per member: $17.68
Average savings per member: $12.00
59% of VSLA groups are linked to SACCOs
17% of VSLA groups are linked to banks or MFIs
14% of VSLA groups aren't linked at all
Average savings per member: $4.60
Average loan size per member: $14.00
20 groups linked to financial service providers through linkage pilot
POWER Africa formed 11,611 saving groups in Year 2 with total savings of $2,976,447
In Rwanda, the focus shifted to linkage with SACCOs (local, government funded cooperative financial service providers) in acknowledgement of the government's support to local financial service providers.
Linkage continues across POWER communities and is being supported by ongoing financial literacy training. To date 163,868 VSLA members have received training, representing 91% of PROFIR's target.
In Ethiopia the failure of the belg rains posed serious challenges for POWER groups.
Group members were able to maintain their saving levels and continue meeting as a group, despite the heavy stress of field and crop loss and saving depletions.
The first of the POWER Africa VSLA groups have shared out their funds and started their second cycle. 12% of groups shared out in Year 2.
270,068 members reached in Year 2, bringing total membership to 380,383 (82.6% of target)
In Burundi, the linkage process began with an assessment of the banking environment and identification of appropriate partners. Negotiations began with Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), with full support from the government, with a pilot linkage expected to commence in Year 3.
Adolescent girls continue to record increasing loan amounts as their businesses expand and diversify. This is significant in light of the political instability in the country. Girls were able to use VSLA as a platform for resilience. 78% of members reported that in financial emergencies they relied on either their VSLA groups or their own savings.
Entrepreneurship and business selection, planning, and management training in Côte d'Ivoire encourages individual income generating activities, driving up the percentage of loans outstanding and reducing the average loan amount
CARE has formed partnerships for linkage with two banks, ADVANS and Ecobank, which are being facilitated and promoted by mobile network operators' MTN and Orange, respectively.
20 groups in Bouaké and Abidjan were selected for the linkage pilot and were connected for savings with either Orange and Ecobank, or MTN and ADVANS
Progress into Year 2
In Year 2 members’ savings continued to increase. The cumulative saving rate increased as the potential for more loans and business investments through RUSACCOs and VSLAs. Women developed increased autonomy and supported their families.
The loan amount increased dramatically. VSLA members are combining RUSACCO and VSLA loans, leveraging their access to further increase their loan sizes. Members frequently contract credit. The drought impacted this, but the overall rate remains high.
In Year 2 there is evident savings at an individual level across all members. Women save less than men overall, but are able to save more than male members in VSLA groups. Year 2 cumulative saving rates are considerably higher across all tools. The majority of VSLA members save consistently and are investing in valuable assets. Entrepreneurship training pushed members to start individual IGAs. These businesses are more profitable than collective businesses, and increase members’ capacity to save.
Members are taking increasing amounts of smaller loans within VSLA. This is particularly true for women. Men are able to access higher amounts of credit outside of VSLA. There is still some evidence of individuals taking large loans for the group’s collective IGA. There is an increasing rate of members with loans evident in the MIS data. Women contract more loans in VSLA than men, who have a higher level of access to external FSPs.
In Year 2, girls are saving increasing amounts on a weekly basis. Their IGAs are profitable and growing, earning enough income for girls to support themselves and their children. Cumulative savings steadily increased across the year. Girls are becoming more and more autonomous, and are able to invest in valuable assets through their IGAs’ incomes
Loan amounts increased significantly, while the credit contraction rate remains very high. As girls earn more money they are able to invest more into their businesses, necessitating the need for higher loan amounts to fund this expansion and diversification. IGAs are much more stable and girls’ focus is on growth and diversification. They are taking increasing numbers of loans and using the credit to fund their educations, as well as their businesses.
Data from Burundi and Ethiopia prove that in emergency situations (like the current political crisis in Burundi and the drought in Ethiopia) VSLA membership can serve as a crucial support for quick access to capital through credit and maintenance of savings through diversified income streams.
In Burundi, girls shared out early as instability touched their communities. These VSLA members faired better than their peers who completed a full 12 month cycle - saving 19.6% more. The majority of girls also started a new cycle - proving that VSLA methodology for youth/adolescent girls should potentially be adapted to reduce the length of the cycle.
In Ethiopia, VSLA groups continued meeting and were able to save at similar, and in some cases, higher rates than before the drought. Members reported a continued ability to support their families, as they were not solely reliant on agriculture for their income.
VSLA as a reslience platform