Village Savings and Loan Association Assessment: Graduating to Resilience
As part of the Graduating to Resilience program, the AVSI Foundation conducted an assessment of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) in the Rwamwanja refugee settlement camp in southwestern Uganda, and the surrounding host community. VSLAs typically aim to reach ultra-poor and vulnerable households who cannot readily access traditional banking services or microfinance interventions. With 20-30 members per group, VSLAs meet weekly to save an agreed amount together, and these funds are shared out at the end of the operating cycle. In the Rwamwanja settlement, communities have been organized into groups for savings and other activities with support from NGOs and donor agencies. This report explores the existing VSLAs in the settlement to ascertain whether present functionality is sufficient and whether AVSI should form new VSLAs. Taking a mixed-methods approach, this assessment reached 51 VSLA groups in seven zones of the Rwamwanja settlement and four sub-counties in Kamwenge. The study reveals the challenges faced by VSLAs in the settlement, and provides recommendations for training and working with Savings Groups in the settlement.