Vital Edge is creating micro-savings programs in Mali, Senegal and Nepal as a platform over which to layer additional development needs including malaria control, literacy, mid-wife assistant training , family health, nutrition,artisan training and organic farming
How does a micro-savings group work?
The Vital Edge instructor sets up the initial meetings. A group is composed of 24 women. They meet weekly with the instructor. Each week they record their weekly savings. (About .50 cents per week). After an initial trial period, the group can make loans to each other. Interest is paid to the group. Unlike most micro-finance plans, No money enters or leaves the group.
Once a micro-savings group is established, it becomes a new social unit capable of receiving instruction and initiating change, be it economic, social or political. Vital Edge has used micro-savings groups to implement programs in Malaria control, Pre-natal training, Traditional Birth assistant (mid-wife) training, literacy training, business training ,water management ,artisan training, and organic agriculture. Vital Edge has completed or currently runs these programs in Mali, Senegal, Afghanistan and Nepal.
Why women’s groups?
There is a general policy movement amongst development organizations towards programs geared towards women’s empowerment. That is a positive development, but has very little to do with why Vital Edge has focused on women’s micro-savings and women’s community gardens. The reason is extremely simple. There are very few men left in the rural villages. The male population has gravitated towards the cities in a mass worldwide migration that has left the women isolated in the country. Over half the world’s population now lives in cities. Women have been disproportionally left out of this movement.