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SAVEUP is a Village Savings and Loans Association (VS&LA) project with to lift 30 million people (70% of whom women) and their families out of poverty by ensuring equitable access to a suite of basic financial services (savings, loan, insurance, remittances) over the next decade in sub-Saharan Africa. Program objectives target the most vulnerable of the community which included poor female headed household members, support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS and the chronically ill.

The VS&LAs are an informal means of saving money for people living in the village. The concept is that a group of up to 20 people contribute a set amount of money into a pool on a regular basis. This could be weekly, bi weekly or monthly. The group then lends the money back out to each other. A group can be formed around a common interest, or are perhaps they are already in a group of some other sort and decide to include VS&LA in their activities.

The group, when it comes together, forms its own constitution, agrees on the frequency of donations and the rate of interest for return on loans. The group also sets up other guiding rules for the group’s cohesion such as what to do if people are late to meetings, if people don’t contribute regularly, how the loans should be given out, as well as some social guidelines like ‘no gossiping.’ 

Having money with which to do something extra is generally unattainable for most Malawians living in the villages. People are saving their own money so they won’t have a big loan to pay back to an outsider at any point. They are working together and because they are community, they are more responsible to each other and internal loans get paid back. As the money accumulates, people are able to take out small loans.As they pool their money and as they repay loans with interest, the funds grow.  As the group matures, they are able to move on to bigger business ventures.

EI Malawi has been included in CARE International's 2 1/2 year program to bring the VS&LA methodology to scale in Malawi.