Savings Groups promoted by UNCDF partner Good Neighbors Tanzania thrive in Kigoma
Now my family listens to me,” said Ekyoci, a 34year-old Congolese woman. “Every time when I have suggestions, like when to rebuild the house and how to spend our money, my husband listens to me. It was not the same in the past.” But Ekyoci has benefited recently from membership in a savings group promoted by UNCDF partner Good Neighbors Tanzania (GNTZ) and since she began, things have changed for the better for her and her household.
Ekyoci is a refugee who has lived in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp for the last 22 years. Since she first arrived, Ekyoci has grown from a little girl to a mother of three, yet there are still no signs in her view of complete peace back home.
Ekyoci now runs her own microbusiness, buying vegetables from the host communities and selling them at the common market in the camp. The business generates around 12,000 TZS ($5.20 USD) profit per month, which she saves in her UNCDF-supported savings group. “Before joining the group, I spent whatever little money I had,” said Ekyoci. Lack of know-how hindered her from planning and managing her money. “What else has changed is the attitude of my family—now they respect my views, because I run a business and contribute to the household.”
Despite experiencing some setbacks, Ekyoci is a good example of how savings groups can promote positive saving behaviours, build confidence, and empower women on a personal and at the community level. UNCDF’s savings group model allows low-income households to build assets; mitigate shocks related to emergencies, illness, or injury; and make productive investments.
GNTZ currently promotes savings groups for thousands of women like Ekyoci in Kigoma's refugee camps. In fact, between June and December of 2018, GNTZ formed and trained 2,000 women in Nyarugusu and Nduta in both savings group management and on digital and financial literacy. In 2019, they are only poised to grow further, making savings groups and their benefits available to even more women like Ekyoci.
Such livelihoods efforts that strengthen refugee self-reliance reshape our understanding of the people whose hands reach out for the food rations— if provided the right tools and opportunities, these hands can carve out a resilient path and fulfil the potential that has been stifled by conflict and displacement.
For the thousands of women savings groups members supported by UNCDF and GNTZ, one loan can kickstart a future, providing a window to a life with vision and hope.
UNCDF in Tanzania
In Tanzania, UNCDF's Financial Inclusion Practice Area (FIPA) team works to advance access to finance, strengthen savings, and improve financial capability in the Kigoma Region. Our target groups are small farmers, refugees and surrounding host communities, and our focus is women and youth.