‘Animating’ Benefits Continued: Atija Momade elected President of Association of Community VSL Trainers
In late May, the P&S Program highlighted the benefits brought to community Village Savings and Loans (VSL) group trainer, ‘Animator’ Atija Momade and the community members she reaches through microfinancing activities in the feature story ‘Animating Benefits:’ How bringing financial security to others reaps rewards for community Village Savings and Loans trainers.
Five months later, CARE-sponsored P&S implementing partner OPHAVELA (Association for Socio-Economic Development) is preparing to transition out of Angoche district. Since 2007, OPHAVELA has trained and accompanied 23 ‘Animators’ and witnessed the formation and bolstering of nearly 100 VSL groups. The time has come to pass along the torch as programmatic support and supervisory roles will be handed over to the community trainers (Animators). In preparation, the 23 trainers have come together and formed an association, Organizar a Vida (Organize Life), which secured legalization at the district level last month.
The Program recognized Atija’s leadership and talents when she was selected as the subject of the beneficiary story and so have her fellow Animators. She was elected President of the new association and helped to craft its vision statement as well as shape its primary objective:
Contribute to improving the living conditions of the population of the district by providing members and non members microfinance services that tend to raise their family income, based on the implementation of savings and credit and other income generation activities while promoting gender equity and healthy lifestyle choices including HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation.
Trainers will continue to mobilize community members to form savings and credit clubs as well as support already-formed groups until their independence. Instead of looking to OPHAVELA for financial and material support, they will look to themselves- taking on the responsibilities of training and supplying start-up manuals, log notebooks, and other materials to groups following established principles of their own teachings.
“We teach groups that through their own means, they can advance economically and achieve goals; through unity and collective contribution.We will follow these principles as we look to advance our goals of providing continual support and services to the community.” Founding member Luis Salimo
As part of OPHAVELA’s transition out, the association is receiving trainings in organizational development and is building up its recently-elected leadership base. In the coming months, Atija and other elected officers will travel to the neighboring district of Meconta to take part in a ‘troca de experiências,’ a sharing workshop with members of the district Association of Animators formed there by OPHAVELA under the same circumstances a year ago.
“We will have the opportunity to learn best practices from the experiences of this association as we move forward with the development of ours,” explained Atija.
As you may recall, it was Atija’s dream to continue to study and become a teacher. Although she has not made advancements on that dream, she sees her new position as Association president as a wonderful opportunity for growth and further professional development.
“I am looking forward to learning new skills and am anxious to see the prospects of this association which has so much potential to continue to see through the important work OPHAVELA and we as Animators have done and will continue to do for the communities of Angoche.”