With minimum shares of between 100 and 250 FCFA that they save once a week at weekly meetings, the women of 50 village savings and credit associations (VCAs) set up at the end of November 2022 have mobilised total savings of 9,545,200 FCFA after only seven weeks of membership. At the end of January 2023, including some penalties amounting to 70,200 CFA francs, they had available credit funds of 5,649,700 CFA francs, with 324 people having taken out loans totalling 3,895,500 CFA francs.
Indeed, the AVEC clubs set up in an emergency situation to help communities affected by flooding during the 2018-2019 season, through the project “Strengthening the resilience of households affected by flooding in the Savannah region of Togo”, have spread to neighbouring areas. Several groups were formed spontaneously by the women themselves to save money together and take out small loans, without having received any training on the principles of management and the AVEC kit.
In view of the enthusiasm for this approach and the willingness of the women of the region, the FAO, through the project “Improving development financing for the achievement of the MDGs in Togo”, financed by the United Nations joint fund for the MDGs, proposed to bring together all these groups, together with other women’s economic interest groups, in order to train and equip them on the resilience fund approach, thus contributing to their empowerment. The ultimate goal is to enable them to withstand shocks and prevent and mitigate the vulnerability of the households to which they belong.
Thus, about one hundred women were targeted with the support of the Savanes Regional Red Cross. These women were trained and equipped to set up AVECs which will now be run according to the predefined management rules, in an inclusive, efficient and sustainable manner. 50 new AVECs were created, including four in Oti, five in Oti Sud, ten in Tandjouare, sixteen in Tône, five in Cinkassé, five in Mandouri and five in Kpendjal Ouest.
These funds, which they have collected and saved themselves, would enable them to set up or invest more in income-generating activities, for greater financial autonomy that would allow them to better meet the nutritional, health and education expenses of their families.
The major challenge today, in order to really continue scaling up and ensure sustainability, is to make the majority of these women literate, to make it easier for them to fill in the registers and notebooks provided, and to enable them to monitor their activities without outside assistance.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.