Village Savings and Loan Associations

Posted December 12, 2016

Written By: Madalitso Banda

Mc Tan Chikakula, lives in Sapezeka Village a typical tobacco-growing community in Kasungu District, Malawi where men like him work hard with their wives and children on their tobacco farms. “There was poverty out here, since tobacco could no longer fetch good prices,” Mc Tan said. The challenges of the tobacco industry often contributed to broken homes: with tobacco prices dropping, all too many farmers spend what little money they have on alcohol, leaving their wives and families destitute.

Posted November 11, 2016

Written By: Madalitso Banda

“I thought I was strong, and all along I was telling myself it is going to be ok, and time after time when problems arose I could move on and put a brave face for the sake of my children, but things were getting worse as each day was passing by,” Liveness Nkhoma said, pausing to compose herself.

Posted September 9, 2016

Written By: Priscilla Sogah

It is a quarter past 10 in the morning and women, both young and old, are trouping to the community center in haste, chatting breezily, and faces full of joy.

It’s time for the Wende Panda Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) meeting at Aki Kouamekro, a cocoa farming community in the western part of Cote d’Ivoire. VSLA’s in West Africa, have become the backbone for economic growth in this community, especially for women, most of whom now earn their own income.

Posted May 5, 2016

At 37 years old Felida Kapheni Phiri is not only a mother, she is also an employer and a role model to most of her family members and women and men from Dunda village – and she’s the first member of her VSLA to own a motorcycle.


“When you look at me don’t see me as a mere woman. I am one of those women from the village but with passion and vision to see their personal life and that of others change for the better,” says Felida.


Posted May 5, 2016

Many parts of the world are experiencing meteorological challenges that can be attributed to El Nino and Malawi is no different. According to a report that was released by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC), El Nino weather in the 2015/16 agricultural season means that nearly three million Malawians will be food insecure.

Posted March 3, 2016

The CARE Ghana team was honored to recently host Ken Powell, CEO of General Mills, for a visit into the Ashanti Region of Ghana. During the visit, Mr. Powell met with cocoa farmers who are benefitting from CARE Ghana’s work in cocoa sustainability, which is supported by funders including General Mills and Cargill. The programs are aimed at sustainably improving the livelihoods and wellness of cocoa growers and their families in Ghana as well as Cote d’Ivoire.

Posted January 1, 2016

According to a recent study, Americans eat nearly 10 pounds of chocolate per person each year – and our appetite for it isn’t even as large as in Europe where the Swiss eat more than 20 lbs per person, with Germany and Austria close behind. Although I am very aware of having a serious sweet tooth, I had never given much thought to where chocolate – or the cocoa that it’s made from – comes from before I eat it.

Posted January 1, 2016

Born and raised in the tobacco growing district of Kasungu, popularly known as the golden leaf town, Shyleen Magwede was made to believe that tobacco was the only source of income and that no money was ‘sweeter' than that from tobacco sales. "Most members of the community considered money realized from the proceeds of other crops like groundnuts, soya beans, maize and vegetables to be as valueless as mere paper and that a man's status was determined by the acreage of tobacco he grows," she recalls.

Posted December 12, 2015

When communities unite, everything is possible. The Join My Village project team recently brought together all 70 Village Agents (VAs) and trained them in a necessary and sustainable practice: the production of re-usable sanitary pads.

Posted October 10, 2015

Veronique Pooda, 50, is a member of a Village Savings and Loan Association in Yaobabrikro, Côte d'Ivoire. Each week, group members contribute 100 francs. Every so often, members take turns taking out a small loan which they repay with interest at a future meeting thereby growing the fund.

Recently, Veronique received a loan to pay four people to clear the weeds from her farm where she grows maize, cassava, and peanuts for her family's food needs. She has also taken out a 15,000 franc loan to grow her small restaurant business.

Posted October 10, 2015

Sitting in the shade of tobacco plants in Kavalakwinda village helps keep the hot sun and dusty wind from our faces. "We are privileged to have a visitor like you today, and please feel at home," said Ligina Nabanda in her welcoming words as I put down my camera bag.

Ligina, has been married to her husband, Likiford Banda, for more than 20 years now, and they have seven children together. However, she's not his only wife. Polygamy, here in Malawi, is not unheard of but her complex marriage isn't the most unusual part of the story she tells me.

Posted July 7, 2015

"If it were not for the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), I would never own goats, send my children to school nor manage at least three meals a day," Alefa Pitilizani explains. Alefa, 37, prides herself on gains she has made from being a VSLA member. Together with other women from the Chikonda village in Kasungu district, Alefa helped form the Fatsani VSLA group in 2009 after learning from CARE staff, thanks to Join My Village, the benefits of group savings and lending.

Posted July 7, 2015

Aline Sip Hoho, 29, has been a member of a VSLA group in Yaobabrikro, a cocoa-farming community in Cote d'Ivoire for more than a year. The mother of two boys, ages 4 and 10, Aline's job in the savings and loan group is to oversee the group's funds. She was chosen for this position by the other members of the group because they all trusted her.

Posted May 5, 2015

Unicky Malango is a unique woman with a distinctive leadership style. In a largely patriarchal society, Unicky has defied the odds by becoming a well-respected public figure. Her leadership prowess dates back to her primary school days. "I served as class monitor for a number of years before being elected a head prefect at Chaima Primary School," she recalls. The 40 year old single mother confesses that she never knew the leadership roles she held back then were just the beginning of more responsibilities.

Posted May 5, 2015

Cote d'Ivoire – also known as Ivory Coast – is a West African country whose farms provide 37% of the world's cocoa.

The importance of sustainable farming has never been greater than it is today. As the appetite for cocoa increases, farmers in Cote d'Ivoire must increase their yields and use more sustainable methods in order to develop their businesses so they can keep up with market demand.

Posted April 4, 2015

Eluby Banda, the Group Village Headwoman (GVH) of Simphasi leads her community without fear or favour. When she is dressed in her chief attire, no one dares to take her for granted because she means serious business. "During my early years of my chieftaincy, my fellow women and friends used to underrate me because they still had that memory of seeing me as a mere village woman. I noticed it and informed my counsellors to warn them that if they continue disrespecting me they will be fined either two chickens or a goat each," explained the 45 year old mother of six.

Posted March 3, 2015

We are sitting comfortably on the veranda of a small house roofed with corrugated iron sheets. Rose Chidzawawa sits in front of me and to her left is Charity Phiri, my fellow pioneer of Join My Village (JMV) program in Kasungu.

Posted January 1, 2015

After working in Kasungu for five years, we at Join My Village are thrilled to share with you how our VSLA groups are giving back to their community: They have introduced their own scholarship funds!

The funds, which are created by VSLA groups located near 20 primary schools, are already serving more than 230 students.

Posted January 1, 2015

For our longtime followers let me take you back a bit; in August of 2012, I introduced you to Agnes Banda in a blog entitled "I am empowered" with this introduction: "She is not the only person whose life was at a standstill. The reasons might be different but the effects almost similar. Little did the women know that the coming in of Join My village will help them unlock fortunes and bringing new directions to their lives and that of their families."

Posted January 1, 2015

Atiness Banda and Yona Banda have been married for more than 20 years and together raised five children - three boys and two girls – but they also lost three children due to poverty. "There was a time where I could have a child and fail to produce milk because I had not eaten anything for days, and the end result was death," says 44 year old Atiness.