ISSN 1710-6931 August 7, 2009 Issue 144

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CELA Encourages Women's Groups in Fizi to Save

As a young organization in the Fizi Territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Centre for Youth Development and Adult Education (CELA) has been forming and training Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) for credit and savings since February 2009.

CELA was based in the Lugufu Refugee Camp in Tanzania but moved to the Fizi Territory after the Lugufu Camp closed and the refugees were repatriated. With a volunteer staff of 24, their current projects include language programs, youth empowerment programs, adult education and vulnerable assistance programs.

CELA tries to enhance women's economic and social conditions in rural Fizi communities. Five Village Savings and Loans Associations have been created: Amka in Kasaka/Sebele, Umoga ni nguvu in Katanga, Matunda Bora in Mwamsombo, M'mwatelecha in Mwandiga, and Makene in Malala I.

These groups gather 150 women (30 in each group), elected within their community to save money. These savings are raised by the members themselves who have the access to borrow money with monthly interest. These organizations are independent and self-managed. Each organization sets its own by-law to rule its activities.

Members meet on a regular basis and transactions are made during the meetings. Every member saves money and buy shares. The organization set the share value in order for every member, even the poorest, to afford at least one share during each meeting.

To initiate this project, CELA previously trained five volunteers from the communities so they could assist the VSL groups from their implementation through their achievement. CELA has also given to each group a metal box and three keys to keep the money.

With this methodology, used by many international organizations such as CARE, Plan International or Oxfam in several developing countries, we expect to enhance the living conditions for women. CELA believes that VSL groups will be able to encourage savings and credit and thus fight poverty and promote women's socio-economic development.

In addition, CELA wishes to empower women, to help them generate revenues and become leaders. This project's goal is to fight poverty as well as to promote resources for women to provide choices and help them acquire civic, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

At CELA we are convinced that a better economic level, education, and independence will empower women, from poor rural areas, to make strategic choices and tackle poverty.

Women are the poorest in the community. They need resources, education and skills to play a decisive role in breaking the cycle of oppression and exploitation.

In order to reach our goals, we are asking friends, partners and sponsors to financially support the VSL groups and raise their credit resources. You can also help to train the VSLA members about selection, planning and management of income genrating activities and women's leadership.

For further information, please contact M. Atuu Waonaje at atuuwaonaje@yahoo.com, +243 (0) 817 474 387.

Micro saving and credit group     Micro saving and credit group

Amka – Organization AVEC for micro saving and credit.

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