How VSLAs Improve Market Access for Members


This month I was trying to monitor the performance of some of the VSLAs, and as I was doing so I got some interesting stories from two women who come from different Traditional Authorities. Ekrina Zimba and Dorothy Mthiko are some of the women who inspired me because of what they are through VSLA.
Dorothy Mthiko is a member of Luntha Village Savings and Loan Association from Traditional Authority (TA) Santhe. She explained to me that she has never borrowed money from any savings and credit institution, and never has she done any business in her life before.
The VSLA has made Dorothy take another direction in her life. She is now a second hand seller of trousers, clothes and other household goods, a business that brings food on her table. She is now able to travel long distances to places she has never been only to order goods for her customers.
These people have taught us how to catch fish” she said, referring to JMV staff. “People have been growing tobacco for a long time with little or no change in their lives. I have been a VSLA member within a short time, but my life and family has seen a difference,” Dorothy said while pointing at her dressing.
While Dorothy boost of her business, Ekrina Zimba, a member of Chikondi (meaning love) VSLA in Traditional Authority Lukwa, says she expects to have a better harvest this year than before. She took me to her tobacco field and tomato garden which she expects to produce and sell.

“This has been possible because I had a chance of borrowing money and buying fertilizer for my tomato garden, which after selling, has helped me buy more bags of fertilizer, to the extent that am having surpluses”. Ekrina explains, while plucking tobacco with her husband.