World Vision works with vulnerable families to support them out of poverty. Starting with Savings Groups, community members learn how to save the resources that they already have, and how to develop their small enterprises or farms. As they develop their resources and require additional funding, they may then seek a microfinance loan through VisionFund.
Zambia has been experiencing the highest level of financial exclusion which still stands at around 50% (FISCOPE study 2015). World Vision Zambia has been working towards increasing financial inclusion in all the areas where the organisation operates. This reality has been on the increase since 2012 when about less than 500 people were involved in the Village Saving and Lending activities. This movement has made a lot of progress in that as at the end of September 2016, World Vision Zambia had facilitated the formation and strengthening of about 2,300 saving groups with a total of approximately 37,500 individual savers, with a saving portfolio amounting to over $1.5 million.
The saving Groups have demonstrated significant impact in the household and indeed community through many angles: they have increased leadership and group governance systems in the communities, increase restoration of hope and self-dignity for the savers as they can once again believe in their capabilities, restored families and community unity. Most importantly, it has impacted lives directly through increased entrepreneurial behavior that has led to increased savings as witnessed with the steady progress where families have been able to support children educational needs, access to health services and facilities, improved food security (including nutrition), improved housing and general well-being of children.
Savers with children who dropped out of school due to lack of finances have been able to take them back to school and are able to meet all their financial requirements.
What has also been noticed is that with over 80 exchange visits conducted among savings groups, exchange of knowledge and relationship building have been enhanced among community members thereby creating a supportive and collaborative environment within the communities. This has helped change the mindset and attitude of smallholder farmers and encouraged open mindedness. The visits have also made it possible for farmers to see concrete examples on the advantage the new technologies and subsequently benefits of adopting the different techniques learnt.
Financial Literacy for Farmers
To increase income, World Vision Zambia, from October 2015 to date has trained over 3,200 vulnerable but viable farmers in financial education under the Sustainable Enterprise and Economic Development (SEED) programme helping small holder farmers to improve their money management skills and ultimately helping in effective management of their saving groups to acquire finances.
Financial literacy has helped communities realise the value of increased productivity for profitability to happen through adoption of high productivity techniques. Smallholder farmers have also been trained in farming as a business in order to help them improve incomes by appreciating gross margin analysis for their products.