Lizzie Grant, 45 years old, is a member of the Gerengo Village Savings and Loans (VSL) group in Ntcheu District, central Malawi. VSLs allow members of a self-selected group to save money, which then forms a source of loan capital from which they can borrow. Any member who borrows from the VSL must repay the loan with an agreed-upon interest and duration. A VSL not only provides capital to a community that has no other source of loans, but also cultivates a culture of saving among the people.
Mrs. Grant began with a small loan of US$38 to help start her business of buying and selling farm produce. But she was not satisfied with the profit of US$20 she was making from the business so she ventured into the bakery business and baked scones. She constructed an oven worth US$107 and marketed to customers from within the surrounding villages. With US$54 she would buy a 50kg bag of bread flour and make a profit of US$125.
Her future plans are to continue with the bakery, open a shop where she can sell farm inputs (fertilizer, seeds, etc.), and build a new house at the district headquarters to rent out to tenants. The Gerengo group have all met with great success.
We shall remain in VSL for life because we know that the little money people can grow and have reliable financial capital if well mobilized and transacted.