The Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region has lauded the efforts of the Organisation for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS) -Ghana, for facilitating the establishment of credit union in the area to assist women groups who are into small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
ORGIIS-Ghana is a non-governmental organisation that is into good governance of natural resource management as well as the empowering of women with the necessary skills to go into the processing of non-timber forest products, such as sheanut, dawadawa and baobab.
It also plays a major role by assisting the VSLAs to get good marketing by adding value to their products and exporting them for sale for the group.
The VSLAs who are predominantly women engage in sheanut, dawadawa and baobab picking and processing, petty trading as well as animal rearing, made the commendation when a team from the Ghana Federation of Forest and Farm Producers (GhaFFaP) visited the group at the Navio community in the district on Saturday, to learn how the VSLAs operate.
Mrs ReginaTogiyiga, one of the executive members of the VSLAs stated that during the banking crisis the VLSAs in the district kept some of their money in some banks in the region as savings, but lost such money leading to the folding up of many of the VSLA members’ businesses.
The VSLAs numbering 12,362 made up of 11,034 females and 1,328 males, said they were benefiting enormously from the ORGISS Women’s Cooperative Union with lower interest and also able to expand their business and cater for their children.
The women groups also commended the NGO for forging partnership with Tree Aid Ghana to provide sheanut processing centres for them, and also providing good marketing for them.
The Programme Manager of ORGIIS –Ghana, Mr Clifford Amoah Adagenera, explained that the formation of the credit union was borne out of the banking crisis that hit the country two years ago, leading to the duping of many bank customers and traders by some private financial institutions.
“Such negative development led to the collapse of many of our women groups’ businesses and thereby affecting their livelihoods and their dignity and as an NGO which has been working with these women groups it felt it, and decided to form this credit union to rejuvenate their businesses,” he stressed.
He stated that the operational areas of the new credit union had been classified into six areas namely Pinda-Piokwaga, Buru, Chiana, Paga, Pungo and Koligo, adding that plans were also in place to upscale the credit union operations in the remaining places in the district.
Mr Abdul-Rahman Mohammed, a member of the GhaGhaFFaP, thanked the VLSAs and noted that they had learnt a lot from the governance structure and operation of the scheme and would replicate it in their respective communities.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, NAVIO