Support for VSLAs

angle-left Restless Development



Restless Development works with young people so that they can lead in solving those challenges. Whether that means supporting communities to end child marriage or prevent HIV, Restless Development works with young people to change their lives and the lives of people in their communities.

It runs out of hubs in ten countries across Africa, Asia and in the UK and USA, with a wider network of partners across the world. Restless Development have been working with young people since 1985 and our work is led by thousands of young volunteers and advocates every year.

The ISAL methodologies promoted by Restless Development enable young people to form strong and cohesive groups, mobilize their own savings which are used as capital for their income generating activities, consumption and other basic needs. ISALs also helps young people to understand why they should be their own savers, own bankers and own lenders.

Young women can use ISALS as a means of accessing capital as:

  • They own the capital
  • They are their own savers
  • They are their own bankers and lenders which means they determine interest to be charged.
  • They can also tailor make the ISAL project include saving for purchases of general household goods which women normally require

Training provided by the organization

The ISAL methodology helps them maintain easy book keeping systems for transparency and improve or increase income generation. It encourages individual members to self-select themselves and form a group with a minimum of 5 members. Once the groups are formed they start saving amounts they can afford and at times they agree on. Any money saved by a group member should be borrowed by members of that group only. Savings continue and members continue borrowing from the savings and interest is earned.

The methodology is designed to suit the needs for both literate and illiterate members of the community.  The training takes 3-5 days to properly educate in the ISAL methodology.

Enrollment criteria

  • Anyone between 15-30 years from the 3 areas Hopley, Ushewokunze and Southlea Park which are under Harare South can enroll provided they are willing and can form a group with a minimum of five members.
  • Once a group is formed they can inform Restless Development or the volunteers based in the community and training will be organized

Contact information

1 Adylinn Road
Marlborough Harare

Lesley Garura
Head of Operations
0773 404 849
Facebook: Restless Development Zimbabwe
Twitter: @RestlessDevZim

The concept of VSLAS has been extensively acknowledged as a strength to consider in relation to attaining sustainable rural livelihoods because Africa has remained the poorest continent in the world despite being endowed with plenty of natural resources.

 A Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) is a group of people who save together and take small loans from those savings. The activities of the group run in cycles of one year, after which the accumulated savings and the loan profits are distributed back to members. The purpose of a VSLA is to provide simple savings and loan facilities in a community that does not have easy access to formal financial services.

VSLAs have been utilized as a method of passing farming methods to each other and examining farming techniques with each other.  VSLAs have furthermore assisted the rural populace in having latest farming hardware and farming methods and this has made more rural farmers to join VSLAs as they helped them to set aside a particular amount of money and then borrow with the goal of buying cutting-edge modern equipment.

VSLAs also give loans that are necessary to low wage families and furthermore give safe facilities for savings so as to empower individuals to adapt up in times of difficulties; act as intermediaries between individuals who have excess and individuals who are in shortfall and; assist individuals with a right, safe and sound method for saving.

Internal Savings and Lending (ISAL) and entrepreneurship

The Internal Savings and Lending program is aimed at assisting communities with problems of accessing capital from banks, micro finance institutions and other money lending institutions. The programme enables group members to internally save and lend where group members guarantee each other as collateral. In addition, the Internal Savings and Lending fosters a sense of community ownership as the programme enables the participants to form strong and cohesive groups.

In order to promote financial inclusion and formalization of Internal Savings and Lending Schemes (ISALS), in 2018 the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Enterprise Development trained a total of 58 781 women in all the 10 Provinces on the transformation of ISALS groups into Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs). This culminated in the formation of 250 new SACCOs this has proved to be a life changing program to the ordinary women of Zimbabwe.

How can women entrepreneurs leverage on VSLAs to be economically empowered?

Women entrepreneurs can utilize VSLAs as platform to save and invest in income generating activities that will bring income when other sections of rural livelihoods such as agriculture are not flourishing.

Loans provided by VSLAs can be helpful in maintaining or starting a business.

Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) are thought to play a critical role in bringing financial services to rural women entrepreneurs in developing countries, where access to formal financial services is typically very limited.

VSLAs are better and more transparent ways of saving.

VLSAs have the following benefits to women:

  • Improved women’s economic empowerment
  • Increased household income and economic activities
  • Increased household expenditure on essential social services
  • Increased household access to cash assets and disposable income
  • Increased access to business capital for rural micro-enterprise activities
  • Improved household resilience to external shock such as food insecurity

- Rural women are now capacitated to expand, diversify and grow their businesses. They have a lot of knowledge and skills but continue to suffer from the daily manual drudgery of operating their businesses due to lack of equipment, poor infrastructure to reach sustainable markets. ISALS/VSALS help them to build collateral required to accesses large amounts of loans to procure much needed equipment.