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Community collective spurs savings and loans in Africa

A Burkinese woman explains how a CCFC-led group has helped her save to send her children to school

By Patrice Zongo, communications manager, Burkina Faso

Ana Thiombiano is an enthusiastic and happy mother, proud to welcome anyone to her home to show how her hard work is paying off.

The 30-year-old mother-of-six joined a village-savings-and-loan (VSL) group in Touopaguida in the Eastern region of Burkina Faso two years ago. The Christian Children’s Fund of Canada-led initiative organizes vulnerable community members, especially women, to save money and build group savings, which can be loaned within the group — with interest — to finance income-generating activities. Today, Ana’s endeavour has paid off.

“We have already completed two cycles of savings,” explains Ana, who earned the equivalent of approximately *$1,400 with the money she saved and borrowed.

Ana has put her money to good use — paying for her children’s school fees among other necessities. She bought a donkey, three small rams and peanut seeds for her farm. She’s also built a metal-roof house — better quality than common local straw-roofed homes — and paid for medical care in Fada, the regional capital.

And, Ana expects to receive $500 after the next VSL cycle. She’s ecstatic: “VSL opened my eyes to saving. It really enabled me to put aside money and meet my needs and my children’s — especially, [when it comes to paying] for their school fees,” she says.

The good news is Ana is investing in her family’s future. So far she has begun to grow peanuts on a small plot of land ploughed by her donkey, which also carries loads to the market. She’s also earning more money to eventually buy more animals and property. And, of course, her children have a brighter future, since she can afford to send them to school.

After two years of group savings and loans, positive change is underway in Ana’s community and surrounding areas.

At the end of June, 52 similar groups with 1,027 members were gathering regularly in the Tapoa Province, Eastern Burkina Faso. They raised more than $103,000 to boost the businesses of the most vulnerable, especially women — giving them a sustainable livelihood and confidence in themselves and their futures.

*Funds are representing in Canadian dollars (CAD 1 ± CFA FR 450 Burkina Faso currency)

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For nearly 60 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, supporters and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.