As part of the Post School support program, we engage with parents of TuaRes girls to start Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) or, as we call them, savings groups. VSLA groups are self-managed groups within a community who meet at regular, self-defined intervals to securely save money, access small loans, and obtain emergency insurance. At the end of the operating cycle, the entire fund with interest is distributed to members and then the process can begin again.1
These groups work well because the members are from within the community, the leadership is selected through an open election process, and all there is transparency at every level of decision making and record keeping. The dedicated TuaRes staff member trains groups in VSLA management and provides direct guidance for the first several months of a group’s creation. Afterwards, the TuaRes representative will check in at gradually increasing time periods. The idea is that after a set amount of time, the group will be entirely self-sufficient and group members could then split off to form their own groups, if they so choose.
To date, the TuaRes VSLA groups have been incredibly successful! At the end of 2020, there were nearly 600 parents participating in groups across Ouagadougou. The families that TuaRes engages are extremely vulnerable and often survive on daily earnings from the market or other informal jobs. Thus, the savings of the groups has been both surprising and inspiring. Collectively, the groups have managed to save, since the founding of the program in 2018, nearly 24,000 euros.
Savings like these can have immense impact on the families of the TuaRes girls. For instance, we heard from numerous participants that these savings were helpful during the COVID-19 lockdown across Burkina Faso, when many of the families were unable to earn any money from daily labor or selling goods in the markets.
Tuition payment is one of the interventions offered by TuaRes. In Burkina Faso, families must pay for post-primary and secondary school (even in the state schools) and these fees can act as a major barrier to education for all students, but primarily for female students. If families, must choose which of their children to education, families can favor boys when choosing how to invest in education.2 More safe, reliable access to savings could provide families with a method to educate more if not all of their children.
In the few short years since its inception, the VSLA program has made a significant impact on the families of the TuaRes girls, we look forward to continuing to see the growth of the program.
Last Updated in August 2021