CARE Canada commissioned a resiliency learning exercise to qualitatively (and to a limited extent, quantitatively) assess the role their Village Savings and Loan Association model (VSLA) has on resiliency of the vulnerable and/or very poor to manage negative covariant and idiosyncratic shocks. Specifically, the learning identified differences in the ways and means VSLA members anticipate, adapt and absorb (and to a certain degree, transform) shocks as compared to their non-member counterparts.
We find that there is sufficient evidence from the data collected during this learning exercise to support the notion or hypothesis that the VSLA methodology does contribute to increased capacity of very poor households to anticipate, absorb, adapt and perhaps transform covariant (and idiosyncratic) shocks and the associated economic stress.
We also find that the VSLA model puts in place a strong foundation of broad services, training and association to support HHs as they manage their unique challenges brought on by covariant or idiosyncratic shocks. The strength of the VLSA approach is that it focuses on building capacity within HHs to independently manage their economic difficulties and not to provide a standardized, cookie-cutter fix to economic vulnerability.
It is also clear that, while the VSLA model is an important component to building resiliency, it cannot stand alone nor is it designed to. Its value as a platform for agriculture extension and other support services that contribute to resiliency cannot be understated.
CARE possesses a treasure trove of data about its VSLA members that may be underutilized. The data system may, however, be more complicated/ambitious than it needs to be.