SOS Children’s Village of Zambia Trust has linked 110 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) to the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) under the Promoting Village Own Savings Associations (PVOSA) project supported by RUFEP.
PVOSA was funded by RUFEP under the Community Based Financial Institutions (CBFIs) Linkages Window of the Innovation and Outreach Facility.
According to the grant agreement for the project with RUFEP, SOS Children’s Village Trust targeted to build the capacity of 75 VSLAs in Eastern and Southern Provinces of Zambia and link them to a formal financial institution.
Speaking during the IFAD Supervision Mission on the 19th September, 2022, SOS Children’s Villages Zambia Trust Family Strengthening Coordinator Osborn Kabingu said the project exceeded the target of linking 75 VSLAs by the close of the project in June 2022.
Mr. Kabingu said a Baseline Study and End line Survey was conducted at the inception and at the end of the project to assess the impact of interventions on the target beneficiaries.
“At the Baseline, financial literacy levels and household incomes were very low but have now improved due to the project intervention. Men’s participation was at 116 which has now increased to 149 at the End line Survey. Financial literacy trainings were conducted for the groups by ZANACO”, he said.
In terms of sustainability, Mr. Kabingu said the project used Village Agents and built their capacity to continue mobilizing communities to form savings groups and train others.
Among the challenges highlighted by SOS Children’s Village Trust were the COVID-19 Pandemic and the 2021 General Elections which made it a difficult to mobilize groups and communities.
During the meeting with VSLA groups supported by SOS Children’s Village Trust under the PVOSA Project based in Zambia Compound in Choma, group members questioned whether GRZ, IFAD or RUFEP could provide direct financial support to the groups to undertake much bigger projects.
RUFEP Programme Coordinator Michael Mbulo said RUFEP does not provide direct financial support to the groups but through implementing partners such as SOS’ Children’s Village Trust.
Mr. Mbulo said since the groups were formally registered as Societies or as Cooperatives and linked with ZANACO, they could either access the Constituency Development Fund or access loans from ZANACO.
“ZANACO has a trail of your transactions as a group as you deposit and save. If you are consistent for a period of one (1) or two (2) years in terms of savings as a group, you can request for loan from your bank based on your records”, he said.
Responding to the same challenge, SOS Children’s Village Trust said the groups will also be linked to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) to access any further available support from government.
The PVOSA Project was implemented under SOS Children’s Village Trust’s Alternative Care and Family Strengthening Programmes aimed to strengthen families at household level to reduce cases of child abandonment.