There are countless small businesses in rural and semi-rural areas of Ghana needing financial support to keeping going, but often their location and socio-cultural settings deny them the privilege.
At the Sawla and Bole Districts in the Upper West and Northern Region respectively, access to credit remains a vital necessity. The area’s main occupation is shea-butter extraction. The dryness and distance of the place; the countless issues of child marriage and perpetual migration of youth to other parts of the country sets the districts a step behind in terms of development.
The Jaksally Development Organization is a local non-governmental organization in the area to have squeezed water out of stone. With their aim to empower and strengthen communities through poverty reduction and participation of youth and women, it’s not a coincidence that VisionFund gladly partnered with them to extend credit facilities to people of the area.
Jaksally forms and provides training to groups, and then according to group constitutions and with the consent of the groups, Jaksally applies for loans from VisionFund. VisionFund assesses the eligibility of the group and gender composition and disburses to the group through its savings box.
The savings and loan approach to community economic development has indeed been positive. No collateral and no guarantors, and yet community members are able to access funds. This has enabled VisionFund and Jaksally to reach very remote places in the district.
Over 26 savings groups have been formed to date, serving 385 active members who support about 1,540 dependents.
The economic situation is gradually changing in the Sawla, Bole and Tuna areas. Through the partnership, community members under low-income status are able to receive soft loans through the Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA/SG). A group member, Madam Idana, shared; “I can sell here and not think about going to the south because I can get a loan from VisionFund through the group. My daughter has also joined the group; she’s doing even better than I am.”
Submitted by Abban Enoch Johnson, VisionFund Ghana