What is a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA)?
To empower women economically, CARE has been implementing village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) in Malawi since 1999. CARE has established more than 850 VSLAs in Malawi to date, comprising more than 16,850 members with $108,828 accumulated as savings (and $145,164 loaned to members). More than 85% of the participants are women. CARE’s research shows that VSLA programs enable women to increase their families’ income, and build self-confidence, independence, and leadership skills in the process. VSLAs are informal, self-selecting groups consisting of 15 – 20 members. The members contribute small, individual savings into an association fund. Each association sets its own “charter” which specifies loan terms. Savings are accumulated for a period and then the association determines how to loan the money to members. All transactions are carried out at meetings in front of all the members, promoting transparency and accountability. Members pay back the loans based on the guidelines sp