“I want to encourage those who have not yet joined with a VICOBA group to do so. The government directives for our groups to be registered under the new system are to ensure that our funds are secure.” Nabarunye Ngurumay, Participant at a recent training.
PWC’s Women Economic Empowerment interventions support pastoralist women to become self-reliant. One way we do this is through our microcredit program, helping women establish Village Community Banks (VICOBAs). These are savings and loan groups which are self-sufficient groups led and sustained by the members, who are women. The microfinance sector supports pastoralist women who would not otherwise have had access to credit and finance. Recent government guidelines require microfinance institutions to be registered, so their services are regulated.
“I encourage PWC not to give up and to continue supporting the government to ensure that laws and regulations that have been passed reach the citizens,” Enock Mwananyamale District Social Welfare Officer
In the third week of April 2021, PWC conducted financial literacy and Sexual Reproductive Health trainings to VICOBA groups in 13 villages of the Longido District. The exercise aimed to raise members’ awareness of the new registration process under the new Microfinance regulation and connect members with different service providers, including NMB banks, ICHF and the District Community Development Department. The team met with and trained members from 164 groups in Longido and Ngorongoro, with a total of 3,280 people attending, including 3,160 women and 120 men. Many members took the opportunity to open individual bank accounts with NMB Bank.
“Before the project, I just sat around at home after completing my daily homestead chores without the assurance of the next meal for my family. I was completely dependent on my relatives and friends for my kids’ and my necessities, and though it bothered me, it was the norm, and we were all used to it. Through the PWC women’s group, I came to realise that I have the option of living a much more independent and comfortable life while providing for my family. I am a business owner now, something I thought only Irmeek (Non-Maasai) women could do,” Makuyuni group member.
PWC has also recently introduced pro-poor groups to support the very vulnerable pastoralist women. PWC identified and recruited vulnerable women who are low-income earners with the potential to join work-for-cash programming in the target districts. Participants in the pro-poor groups start with the Work-for-Cash model where they are paid to do community work, and encouraged to save part of those funds in their VICOBA group. They are gradually introduced to business and entrepreneurship skills before they graduate and are given capital to operate in the VICOBA model. PWC identified 90 women based on vulnerability from Mairowa, Makuyuni and Sakala villages to participate in this intervention. The project has paved a way towards financial independence for the women by diversifying their source of livelihood through encouraging and supporting them to recognise and seize business opportunities as individuals in their localities.