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Accessing credit in rural Mozambique

Village Savings and Loan Association group, Inhambane, Mozambique. Photo: Luisa Duarte, Irish Aid

If poor farmers have a more secure income, they are in a better position to withstand sudden shocks

Inhambane Province in Southern Mozambique is home to 1.4 million people, over one million of whom depend on small scale, rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood; a precarious existence in an area with poor soil and unpredictable rainfall.

Making that existence more secure is at the heart of Irish Aid’s work. If poor farmers, men and women, have a more secure income, they are in a better position to withstand sudden shocks like drought or flooding, or the effects of climate change.

Now vulnerable women living in rural areas of Inhambane are receiving assistance through a microfinancing initiative.

As part of a programme implemented by CARE with Irish Aid support, micro financing groups known as Village Savings and Loans Associations have been set up to help members to save and get access to credit.

Each Association has from 10 to 25 members, accumulating their savings and accessing loans. Having savings helps families withstand shocks such as crop failure or illness, and with access to credit, members can invest to improve their income. In addition, control over savings can give women a greater say in household decisions.