“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. It is justice.” – Leonardo Boff
One of Spirit in Action’s callings is to create more opportunities for social justice – working towards a world based on equality, solidarity, and human dignity. One project that we have supported is the Manyamula Village Savings and Loans Group (MAVISALO), a community-based organization in Mzimba, Malawi, which helps bring security and credit to this rural community of subsistence farmers.
Since the group started this loan fund, using individual contributions and profits from a poultry project, MAVISALO has made steady progress towards encouraging saving and increasing access to loans for its members.
“The private financial lending institutions and the commercial banks of Malawi were not providing the opportunity to village members to save their money. These institutions provide loans at high interests rates and ask for collaterals, which village members can’t afford.” As the quote at the top implies, MAVISALO is driven to do more than just create wealth among members – they are also creating a system that honors and trusts the village members by allowing even traditionally disadvantaged people to access financial services.
“Today, an institution is born mobilized by the village people themselves and it provides a sound atmosphere that promotes saving culture.” Local leaders have shown interest in supporting the group and using it as a model for others. “This is a great idea indeed to have our own economic institution that helps my people save,” says Group Village Headman, Yesaya Shumba.
Canaan Gondwe, leader of the group of 52 members (20 women and 32 men), has seen a great impact on the community, “Members of MAVISALO are able to smile at the impact the loan project on its members. The impact is not only confined to members but also outsiders as they are served by entrepreneurs who are members. There are youths, widows, HIV people all incorporated in one community institution living together to uplift and empower themselves.”
Great job MAVISALO. Keep up the great work!
- MAVISALO’s Chicken House
- Children’s Book about Micro-Finance
- “Imagine your life without financial services…”