Almost three years ago Plant With Purpose’s international meeting in Tanzania focused on the village savings and loan program,or VSLA, which I’ve written about quite a bit on this blog. Since then, the program has spread the other five countries where Plant With Purpose works. The pattern of pooling savings that are then made available for loans is the same in every country, though groups also have freedom to decide things like how much interest they will charge for loans and so on. Another consistent pattern has been skepticism as to whether “it will work here,” followed in a few months by a growing sense of excitement about how effective the groups are in empowering members and the community to work together to improve their lives.
So one of the highlights of my recent trip to Haiti was seeing two new groups, one in Tewouj in Grand Colline and another one in Tefwad. It was especially exciting to be at the Tefwad group, as this was the very first time that they were meeting to begin saving. The plan is for 50 groups like these across the Haiti program in the next year. Here’s a (not very good) picture:
Notice that the leadership of the group is shared by four people who are elected by the group, and that all transactions (savings deposits, loans and loan repayments are handled up front for maximum transparency.
For me this has been a super encouraging and inspiring trip to Haiti and I will have a few more posts, along with better pictures, soon.