Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) is a key component of a gender standalone initiative that cuts across most of Oxfam in Nigeria's projects.
VSLAs are self-managed community-based groups that provide their members access to basic financial services. They respond directly to the unmet financial service needs of the remote and rural poor by providing:
- A secure place to save
- An opportunity to borrow in small amounts and on flexible terms
- Affordable basic social insurance services
It is a self-selected 15 to 25 individuals who meet regularly (usually weekly or fortnightly) to save and, if desired, borrow for short periods, paying monthly interest at a rate set by the group. After approximately 12 months, all savings and earnings are distributed back to group members. The earnings usually are distributed in proportion to their savings.
VSLAs aims to increase household financial assets and to decrease household vulnerability to financial and other shocks and stresses.
Oxfam is working with partners to implement the VSLA initiative which will directly support 200,000 small scale farmers (SSF) 50% of whom are women by March 2019, organized into 8000 village savings and loans groups in Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Adamawa, Ibadan, and Taraba States.
Currently, the project is benefiting 60,000 people organized into over 2500 groups in over 40 local governments of Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kebbi, and Adamawa; with an equity of over N500million, a net profit of N70million and a return on savings of 16.6%.
Apart from the savings and loans, the project has facilitated access to agricultural inputs (fertilizers, seeds, and agrochemicals) and increased the productivity of small-scale farmers (SSFs) in addition to serving as platforms for innovation, peace, and conflict resolution as well as capacity building. Oxfam’s target is to reach 1,000,000 beneficiaries by 2023.