Transformative Microfinance Project Model for Rwanda


World Vision and VisionFund share a common interest in promoting household income, through supporting Savings for Transformation (S4T) groups to acquire financial services including loans and financial literacy skills, and have established a sustainable partnership to strengthen and intensify mutual efforts. An agreement signed last September is a milestone in this partnership, where a microfinance project funded by World Vision Rwanda (WVR) will be implemented by VisionFund Rwanda (VFR).

The S4T is a transformative project model helping communities to save, borrow and invest in their livelihood activities. VisionFund is enhancing those activities with injecting additional capital to allow group members to take out larger loans.

With this project, “VFR is planning to scale up the savings groups linkages in its branches,” says Grace Dusimimana, CEO of VisionFund Rwanda. “VFR already has two branches serving savings groups, and another three branches will soon have sub-branches focusing on savings group linkages. In the long term, this will help us to have a greater impact in our communities and deepen our commitment to the most vulnerable children in rural areas. We are planning to provide financial services to the beneficiaries of 672 S4T Groups and provide financial literacy training to them,” says Grace.

Talking about the background of the partnership, Grace explained that WVR has been facilitating the formulation of groups and providing training to  Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and some of them are ready to be linked to financial institutions. As VFR can maximise its reach when collaborating and advocating for broader impact, signing the partnership agreement is an opportunity to help VFR reach its targets in rural areas and ensure alignment to its social mission.

“We all know the strong correlation between economic wellbeing and child nutrition,” says Sean Kerrigan, National Director of WVR. “World Vision is committed to empowering families and households of the most vulnerable children to become economically self-reliant to be able to afford their children’s basic needs. Through the partnership with VFR, WVR can ensure that the most vulnerable parents can be empowered, trained in financial literacy, save, and be given access to funds to scale up their businesses.”

Sean has seen first-hand the benefits of savings groups in the community. “By partnering with VisionFund, we not only enable parents to care for their children now, but we also give them the tools to do so into the future,” he said, adding that “Surprisingly, with the economic hardships brought upon families because of COVID this year, it has been savings groups who have had the best repayment rates.”