Volunteer Stories

Credit and Savings Training Leads Farmers Association and Surrounding Community to Financial Success

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Volunteer Elizabeth McGuiness in Mozambique with the two groups together

Tadzera Kulima, a local name meaning “we are here for farming,” is a farmers’ association located in Lamego, in the Nhamatanda District, Mozambique. There are 28 members, mostly women, who produce vegetables, oilseeds and cereal grains which they sell in local markets. Because the members are all smallholder farmers they experienced challenges getting small loans from commercial banks; therefore, the association’s board has chosen to provide smallholder farmer loans to members for production and marketing activities. In January 2016, Tadzera Kulima requested assistance through the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program in order to establish a credit and saving system which could be replicated by other farmers in Lamego.

CNFA fielded Elizabeth McGuinness, an evaluation specialist with over 20 years of experience in finance and development programming, to start a saving and loan system for the association. Ms. McGuinness worked with the members and an additional 31 farmers from around Lamego to start two savings and loan groups.

The first group, Tiphedzenimbo Lamego, has 25 members exclusively from Tadzera Kulima. The second group, Tikubemba Lamego, includes three members from Tadzera Kulima as well as other members of the Lamego community. CNFA Mozambique also connected Ms. McGuinness with a local NGO, Association for Local Development (ADEL), who attended the trainings and provided support to the saving groups once the volunteer assignment ended. Since Ms. McGuiness’s assignment, these groups meet once a week, receive regular assistance from ADEL in financial management, and have begun providing small loans with an interest rate of 10% (as compared to the 25% interest rate of loans provided by commercial banks) to group members. Only six months after Ms. McGuinness’ visit, members of Tadzera Kulima saved about $720 and given out $493 worth of farmer’s loans to expand production and increase efficiency.

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