May 16, 2008, 8:06 AM
Village Savings and Credit Associations (VISACAs) are user-owned, user-managed and user-financed microfinance institutions operating in The Gambia, says Kawsu Conteh, Animator, Central River Region (CRR) and Lower River Region (LRR) VISACA Apex.
Mr Conteh was speaking at the Madina Sancha VISACA annual general meeting in Kiang East, Lower River Region, recently.
According to him, the ownership of VISACA belongs to the village as an entity, adding that savings and deposits can sustain any VISACA in the country.
Mr Conteh stated that VISACA Apex, the umbrella body of VISACAs in the country, is pleased to be associated with the activities that Madina Sancha VISACA is doing, such as savings, deposits, giving fertilizer to farmers on loans among other activities.
He further commended the management of Madina Sancha VISACA for holding the AGM, adding that holding an AGM was very important as it’s based on the credibility of every organisation, while urging the management committee and the general membership to continue guiding the constitution and regulations that governs VISACAs in the country.
He used the AGM to say that membership is limited to individuals and groups, adding that group and Kafoo’s membership is limited to groups that are actively involved in development work in the village.
On the financial statement of the year, Mr Conteh gave the VISACA a thumb-up, saying the VISACA made a profit of D132,711 from January to December 2013.
Cash in hand, he said, is D166,143 and income from grants - that is Rural Finance Project, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Government of The Gambia (GoTG) finance project, and Social Development Fund (SDF) - stood at D52,981.
Membership fees stood at D18,835, expenses interest paid on term deposit at D8,733.00, and interest paid on external loans at D63,000.
The VISACA gained D8,200 on mobile charging.
On savings, MrConteh revealed that members were ‘not doing good savings’ with the VISACA, disclosing that active deposit is forty-eight of which ten are females, eight non-residents, four are Kafoos and no male made savings in the year 2013.
He expressed disappointment that members were not making savings but was quick to state that “in The Gambia we don’t have saving habits.”
Madina Sancha VISACA president Aji Sohna Ceesay spoke at length on the importance of AGM, saying the village through the AGM shall define the rules and procedures for running the VISACA.
According to her, it is at AGMs that villagers shall select the cashiers and management committee to run the affairs of the association, therefore, holding AGM is very important.
She revealed that the VISACA is for the village of Madina Sanchaand the surrounding villages, while stating her profound gratitude for the turnout of the general membership.
Speaking earlier, Alkalo Mbye Ceesay said the ownership and governance of any VISACA lies with the villagers hence urged the villagers to take ownership of the VISACA.
At the end of the AGM, members unanimously agreed to increase savings by D50.