Presentation made at the Conference on Fisheries and Coastal Environment (The Accra Conference 2017): Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) as Strategy for Empowering Communities for Sustainable Management of Coastal Ecosystems

February 26, 2024 - In Sustainable Livelihood Publication

Coastal communities in the Western region of Ghana have few livelihood diversification opportunities. This problem is magnified by the inability of majority of coastal dwellers at the bottom of the financial pyramid to access conventional sources of loans to start or expand small-scale enterprises. This has reinforced a perpetual cycle of   over-dependence on natural resources for survival.

Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) has been applied in the rural settings to organize and empower community members to build cohesion for managing their natural resources and also generate self-funding for livelihood initiatives. Under the auspices of the USAID-funded Coastal Sustainable Landscapes Project (CSLP) and Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), three (3) VSLAs were established in the riparian communities of the Ankobra River and their performance assessed against their contributions to household livelihood improvement and sustainable management of coastal resources. The assessment was carried out using regular monitoring visits with field schedules, interview checklist and focus group discussions over a 2-year period.

Findings reveal that VSLAs, have created institutions that organize members into groups and facilitate ready access to loans from their savings; improved household business outcomes and empowered women

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