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Community saving: A good solution for poor ethnic minority women in upland areas

On January 17th and 18th, 2020, the SRD project team guided and participated in the annual review of the village savings and loans association (VSLA) groups. This activity was part of the project, “Conservation and development of agricultural biodiversity for poor community groups to respond to climate change in Son La province (VM059)”. This review marks the end of the second year of 8 VSLA groups that have been established and in operation from 2018 to the present.

Within VSLA groups, each member is a shareholder. Each member both contributes to the fund and has the opportunity to borrow from the fund. With regards to borrowing, many ethnic minority members often use loans to buy livestock and/or feed; seedlings and/or fertilizer; pay school fees and/or buy school supplies for their children. Some members also use the loans to pay for medical examinations and treatment for family members. In 2019, each group raised funds ranging from 20 million to over 30 million VND.

VSLA groups offer many advantages to its members and the overall community. First, the groups maintain the trust of the community due to strong transparency. This promotes the sustainability and continuation of the model. Secondly, the VSLA groups are inclusive; all members of the group receive benefits. Members who do not need to spend immediately are able to set aside money for other members’ immediate use. The risk with these loans is very low because of the high level of supervision from the community, leading to an increase in accountability from the borrower.

During the 2019 financial support meetings, SRD staff members heard a great deal of positive feedback from members of the VSLA groups. Ms. Bac Thi An, a member of the Ban Na Ne VSLA, accumulated the most money in the past year and shared that, “this method of saving allows me to better save my money. When I do not give my money to VSLA, I am more lilkely to spend rather than save”.
Ms. Quàng Thị Xe, the most recent member of the Co Kham VSLA (the 40th person), registered after learning about the group's activities. However, Ms. Xe has accumulated one of the highest amounts of shares within the group. She is excited to continue participating in the group.

In addition to capital gains, regular meetings are also an opportunity for members to share their experiences with their investments and discuss personal matters. By doing so, the use of money after borrowing can be more effective, and the user of capital is more responsible.

The group coordinators play a very important role in ensuring the sustainability of the VSLAs. The leaders work hard to build credibility and to become familiar with their group members. They are able to effectively coordinate the group’s future activities. In addition, they are often young people who have had good access to modern education, providing them with the ability to thoughtfully guide group members regarding the use of loans. The group coordinators are able to successfully educate group members and maintain control over the VSLA groups, creating a positive and sustainable environment.

The following photos depict the activities of the VSLA groups.

Ảnh 3 - Thành viên BQL nhóm tại bản Nà Ne xã Bon Phặng đi tới từng thành viên để giám sát cũng như hỗ trợ việc kiểm đếm số cổ phần của từng ngư

The members of Bo village, Muoi Noi commune are paying the principal and interest before the group finishes the settlement (January 17, 2020).






Ảnh 1 - Các thành viên bản Bó xã Muổi Nọi đang trả gốc và lãi trước khi nhóm làm tất toán - ảnh chụp ngày 17.1.2020

  A member of the group management board in Keo Phay village, Bon Phang commune carried out the inventory and counting of the principal and interest of the whole group in one 

Ảnh 4 - Thành viên BQL nhóm tại bản Kéo Pháy xã Bon Phặng thực hiện việc thống kê và kiểm đếm toàn bộ số tiền gốc và lãi của cả nhóm trong một

 Members of the Management Board in Na Ne village, Bon Phang commune go to each member to supervise and support the counting of each person's shares. 

Ảnh 5 - Thành viên tại bản Co Kham xã Bon Phặng lên nhận số tiền góp cổ phần và tiễn lãi trong một năm - ảnh chụp ngày 17.1.2020

A member of Co Kham village, Bon Phang commune received a contribution of shares and saw off interest for one year - 17.1.2020 

Ảnh 6 - Thành viên của bản Nà Ne nhận tiền sau một năm góp và có lãi

Members of Na Ne village received money after one year of contribution and made a profit 

Ảnh 7 - Đại diện thành viên nhóm VSLA bản Bó xã Muổi Nọi chụp ảnh kỉ niệm

Representative of VSLA group in Bo village, Muoi Noi commune took a souvenir photo

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