‘Animating’ Benefits: How bringing financial security to others reaps rewards for community Village Savings and Loans trainers
At first glance, one can see that Atija Momade is a confident and vibrant woman. Her warmth and outgoing demeanor has served her and her community well. Like many women in Angoche, Atija settled down and started a family as a young adult before having the opportunity to finish her secondary school education. Although she had wanted to continue with her studies, she did not have the means and consequently, was unsuccessful in obtaining gainful employment. Yet she did not want to rely on her spouse for financial security. In 2006, she joined a community savings and micro-credit lending association. Through her membership, she learned the basic tenants of micro-finance and saw first-hand the benefits of participating in a group.
In 2007, CARE-sponsored P&S implementing partner OPHAVELA (Association for Socio-Economic Development) visited Atija’s association on a recruiting mission.
Founded in 2004, OPHAVELA is a Nampula province-based non-profit which has served Angoche district since 2006 in establishing sustainable village savings and loans (VSL, PCR in Portuguese) groups. Rather than relying on staff to form and train new groups, OPHAVELA utilizes a training of trainers approach, teaching dynamic individuals known as Animators how to form and accompany groups within a 30 kilometer radius of their respective communities until independence. Each Animator receives a bicycle for transportation, a training manual, and new group start-up materials. Animators additionally receive monetary incentives which correspond to the number of groups formed and the number of meetings supervised. Through this approach, OPHAVELA ensures that groups receive local sustainable support and create financial and skills development opportunities for community members trained as Animators.
As part of their strategy to empower Mozambican women through credit access, OPHAVELA prioritizes training an equal, if not greater, number of female Animators to males. Ms. Momade expressed interest during the recruiting visit, was selected, and trained later in 2007 in PCR.
“I wanted to help others to have greater financial security…to gain what I gained through my involvement in a savings and credit association.”
In 2011, she received additional training in a slightly different methodology known as ACPE which caters to groups with less investment capital.
Members of groups with greater capital may contribute a monthly value of their choosing. At the end of the investment cycle, those who contribute more earn a greater return on their investment. With the ACPE approach, members determine and contribute a fixed amount each month. They then receive equal shares of accrued interest at the end of each investment cycle, ensuring equal benefit-sharing.
With both methodologies, Ms. Momade has successfully trained and supported 24 different village savings and loans groups. More than half are functioning independently. From her work, she earned enough money to return to school, finishing her secondary education in 2012. She hopes to continue with her studies to become certified to train and supervise other Animators. She continues to dedicate her time empowering peers to attain greater financial security and independence.
Watch and listen to Atija speak about the advantages of participating in a Village Savings and Loans Group: