223 beneficiaries from different communities in Freetown have on Friday 19th February 2021 shared over Le 177 million between them under the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) at the Aberdeen Community Centre in Freetown.
The VSLA falls under the ‘Gender Biziness Project’ being executed by Save the Children Sierra Leone with support from Irish Aid and implemented by Livelihood Development for Human Rights Promotion.
According to the lead consultant of the VSLA, Abdulai Bangura, the initiative came from Save the Children after a study they undertook on the causes of the rapid increase in teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone.
Bangura said one of the findings revealed poverty as the underpinned reason for the rampant cases of pregnancy among teenagers, citing curtailing the rise as the reason the VSLA came about to empower women and children through the savings and loan association.
The consultant called it a three year project that started in late 2019, mainly focusing on teenage pregnancy. He disclosed to Awoko that they were able to establish 12 groups, six each in the Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural.
He maintained that all 12 groups were able to save Le177, 094,000 with a profit of over Le 30 million. The least beneficiary took home Le800,000 with the highest taking home Le1.5 million.
In his remarks, Save the Children Sierra Leone representative Alex Kargbo called on the beneficiaries not to forget about saving, stressing that what they shared on Friday resulted from their savings.
He re-emphasised the essence of the VSLA, which is to surmount teenage pregnancy, adding that the monies should also reflect on the lives of their children.
Madam Aminata Jalloh from Irish Aid thanked the beneficiaries and partners for such an achievement. She noted that they work with many organisations including CARL and Advocaid, and pointed out that women, children and adolescent are top of their priorities.
Madam Jalloh said the Gender Biziness Project is now in its third year, and called on the parents to invest in their kids after receiving such money, since the major cause of teenage pregnancy in the country is poverty.
She ended up urging the women to continue in that light for the betterment of themselves and their children.
One of the beneficiaries Letti Sandi thanked Save the Children and partners for such an initiative. She said prior to such an engagement she was doing business but hardly realised any profit. But after the coaching and training they got under the VSLA, she is now in the position to make a saving out of the little income she makes from her business.