Accelerating women’s empowerment is intricately linked to the strengthening of the socio-economic livelihood of fishing communities in the coastal savannah zones of Ghana. The PTF project offers trainings to fisherfolk, especially women fish processors, in all the coastal fishing communities of operation within the five project districts in the Central and Western regions of the country. The fisherfolk are receiving training on financial literacy and how to develop and run their own community-level savings through the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) model.
Women in fishing communities have disproportionately low access to finance and typically face stringent loan arrangements when they do have access. Most of these women have historically been financially excluded. The VSLAs provide women fisherfolk, opportunity to save and borrow flexibly while making profits on their savings.
A few years back, Araba Oduwa and some other women had been involved in a Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA). Without a model to follow, by the time it was her turn to access credit from the collective contribution, the group had fallen apart and her previous deposits could not be refunded.
Now, Araba Oduwa meets with 17 other women fish processors every Tuesday in Otuam community in the Ekumfi District of Ghana to deposit their savings and collectively make decisions on loan disbursement. Araba Oduwa says:
“With the VSLA, I am assured that my needs for savings and credit will be met with no problems of high minimum deposit requirements, hidden charges, complicated procedures, or losing my deposits. I am now a shareholder and a client in our own small bank!”.