May 17, 2012, 3:50 PM
Beneficiaries of the Village Savings and Credit Associations (VISACA) have thanked and commended the Rural Finance Project (RFP) for providing them with VISACAs, which they say is improving their livelihood.
In a recent tour of VISACAs in some parts of the country, this reporter caught up with some beneficiaries of the services being provided by the VISACAs through the help of the RFP, a funded project of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in The Gambia.
Abdoulie Sowe, a livestock dealer, said he took a loan of D5,000 from Nyofelleh VISACA from which he started his business in livestock dealing and today his business is doing well for which he commends the RFP.
According to him, he has been dealing in livestock for the past five years successfully in the area thanks to the loan he received from the facility.
Sowe, who gives thanks and praises to the Almighty God for being able to pay his entire loan after utilizing it, said he was among the first people to be given loan to start their businesses in the community.
He thanked the RFP for bringing bank services to their community, saying the village bank has immensely helped many people in the village including him to lead a meaningful life.
As a customer of the VISACA, he maintains savings with the village bank from the profits he makes from the sale of his animals, he said.
“I am doing this to help me get more and bigger loans from the bank to expand my business,” he said.
He disclosed that the interest the VISACA charges is not as much as the ones charged by big commercial banks in the country.
“I am also able to buy small ruminants with my money to do business and this is changing my life and that of my family,” he added.
For her part, another beneficiary, Isatou Kombeh Badgie, said the villagers were very happy when it was announced that the RFP was to construct a VISACA in their village.
According to her, the villagers also contributed to the construction of the VISACA as a token of their community input to the supportive initiative.
Badgie, who is a gardener, said she benefitted from a loan to do a business in horticulture, adding that before the coming of VISACA in their village, they used to trek for long distances to borrow money to do business.
According to her, they used to go to relatives and loved ones in Brikama to borrow money but with the VISACA in their village, they have had to stop going to borrow money from far and wide.
She commended the RFP for planting a VISACA in their village, saying it has relieved them of the serious burden of sourcing funds or finance for investment.
She explained that before the coming of the VISACA, she used to keep her money in the house, which she said is quite unsafe for her as most of the time she would lose her money and accuse her sons of stealing it.
“Since we have got our VISACA nearby, I don’t save my money at home anymore; I take it to the VISACA, which has stopped my usual accusing of my sons of stealing my money.”