VisionFund´s FAST program (Finance Accelerating Savings Group Transformation) aims at linking World Vision ‘Savings for Transformation’ groups to VisionFund’s microfinance institution in country.
Currently active in eight Sub-Saharan African countries, VisionFund has reached 3,800 groups which include close to 90,000 members and impacted the lives of 300,000 children. The story of Solange from Rwanda shows the impact the savings group loan had on her family:
In 2018, Solange, mother of two children, joined a World Vision savings group under the THRIVE program in Rwanda. Before she joined the group, she says “life for my family was difficult, to get food, to get more than one cloth, and materials for school was a struggle.” Since Solange joined the savings group, she managed to regularly save and get small loans. She can provide a balanced diet and can afford the school materials for her children.
Solange did not qualify for a loan from a financial institution. But with a VisionFund FAST loan, the group was able to access US $600. Solange borrowed US $50 and invested in her maize farming. In the next cycle, the group received a loan of US$1,300 of which she borrowed US $70. She invested in paying for laborers, fertilizer and buying quality seeds. Solange states that “now with the increased cultivated land, the harvest increased from 50Kg of maize to 250kg of maize per season.”
In addition to the group benefitting from the FAST loan, FAST also utilizes digital solutions. Using M-Hano (the mobile money provider in Rwanda), allowed the group to access and repay the loan even during COVID restrictions because no travel was required.
Written by Martina Crailsheim, Director of Saving Group Linkage, VisionFund International