A major objective of establishing a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) is to support local economic development through financial intermediation. VSLA is a group of people who collectively support a structured process for saving money and offering loans at the local level. They provide a simple and accountable system for savings and loans for communities which do not have ready access to formal financial services or underserved by the formal financial institutions such as banks or microfinance companies.
Under the Coastal Sustainable Landscape Project, Hen Mpoano formed over 20 VSLAs within the Ellembelle, Jomorro and Nzema East districts in the Western Region of Ghana, to help diversify livelihood activities of local people who depend mostly on farming and the exploitation of natural resources including mangroves. The VSLAs bring together community members who save for mutually agreeable objectives and take out small loans from those savings to expand their businesses, pay for their children’s school fees and support household activities.
The Koyele VSLA group at Metika in the Jomoro district is one of the VSLA groups formed under the CSLP project in collaboration with U.S. Forest Service. Joseph E. Kwamena a member of the Koyele VSLA group in the Jomoro district, took a loan of 500.00 GH Cedis (US$86) to start a piggery project. He started with two pigs and within a year, he has over 26 pigs and piglets on his farm worth about 1300 GH Cedis (US$224). He is very excited to be part of the VSLA group.
Joseph E. Kwamena, the beneficiary, had this to say: “The VSLA has been very beneficial to a lot of us in this village. During the share-out for this cycle, I contributed 765.00 Gh Cedis (US$131) and received 1071.00 (US$185). My plan is to reinvest this money in my piggery business.”