How do Village Savings & Loans Projects Help People?

This is a question that we regularly get asked, mainly because explaining the detail of how a Village Savings and Loans Group operates can require detail, especially around how the group is formed, savings cycles and how people access loans.

In this post we want to explain, in a really simple way, how our Village Savings and Loans projects work and how they are benefitting thousands of people in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

First of all the context:

  • Over 500 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme poverty(more than 8,000 times the population of Guernsey)
  • Women and girls make up the majority of the poorest people in the world today.

Imagine this scenario.

You are a woman living in a developing country with little or no industry or opportunity. Private sector jobs are extraordinarily rare. You have no assets to your name. No bank will give you any type of account or credit because you are too poor. You can neither read nor write because you never went to school. How can you provide the basics for your family?

This is exactly where Village Savings and Loans projects come in to provide sustainable assistance to those living in extreme poverty.

Our projects show people how to efficiently save and invest small amounts of money. Village Savings and Loans groups are self-managed groups which provide people with a safe place to save their money, access small loans, and obtain emergency insurance. The approach used is characterised by a focus on savings, asset building, and the provision of credit that is in proportion to the needs and repayment ability of those taking out the loans.

Groups are very low-cost, simple to manage and can be seen as a first step for people to reach a more formal and wider array of financial services.  At This Is EPIC we do not give money to the groups or its members, as the model does not require it. Instead we offer the financial literacy and management training which empowers groups and their members to become self-supporting managers of their money and their future. The Village Savings and Loans approach is ideal for assisting those living in extreme poverty, frequently categorised by those living on less than $2 per day, a sustainable path for overcoming the chokehold of extreme poverty.

Our Village Savings and Loans groups aim to facilitate the economic growth of a community and empower its members to develop a sustainable future.

Research shows that when women earn, everyone benefits, and our Village Savings and Loans groups at This Is EPIC are made of 70-80% female members. Often loans are taken to start a new small business or grow an existing small business. Group members can earn extra income that can buy food for the family, send children to school or access vital medial services and supplies.

Take Rose Nambatya as a real life testimony from one of our groups in Uganda. Rose is a 30 year old Ugandan lady who has four sons. Rose joined one of our Village Savings and Loans groups in 2015 and as a result has been empowered to start a coffee bean selling business. Rose was able to access small loans from the group to set-up her business where she sells coffee beans at the local markets. From the money she is making from her small business she is now able to send her two older sons to school.

“My focus is on my children’s future wellbeing and education, life will definitely get better with this project”

You can support our projects by visiting our Get Involved page on our website.


Our work focuses on empowering community driven change and providing a help up rather than a handout.