For women and youth in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo, financial resources are often scarce. Building your own business or becoming a leader and improving the community are often incredibly difficult.
However, thanks to Plan International USA’s Women and Youth Saving for Empowerment (WYSE) Project, thousands are able to build their careers and their communities, achieving feats that would not have been possible before.
These women are just four examples of how WYSE is empowering women and youth to save:
“Make Things Good”
In Benin, Clarisse joined a Savings Group called “Miadranoudo," which means “Make Things Good."
She’s proving that she can “make things good” all on her own.
As a result of her own savings, she accessed a loan from the pooled funds of her Savings Group, which enabled her to not only strengthen her previous small business, but also generate a second stream of income to support her five children.
“My membership in this Savings Group has facilitated my access to loans,” she said.
“These loans not only enabled me to reinforce the sale of my cooking ingredients, but they also helped me to start selling basketry products and cooking utensils…. I can now easily afford the provision of food for my children and I assist my husband in supporting our children’s school fees.”
“I Plan to Have My Own Business Very Soon”
The Nongtaaba Youth Savings Group, in Burkina Faso, is one of 22 Youth Savings Groups established by the WYSE project in the Kourittenga province since 2014. With 26 members, weekly financial contributions have helped the group members provide loans to one another.
Twenty-three-year-old Lucienne is an expert when it comes to sewing, and hopes that she can use her skill to earn her own income. She is very close to starting her own business with a loan from the Savings Group.
“I sew, but for the moment I work for someone else,” she said. “With my savings and the loan I can get from the group, I plan to have my own business very soon.”
“Our Village Will Continue to Strive”
When a borehole broke in Kodjo’s village in Togo, leaving more than 1,000 people without a source of clean water, her Savings Group joined forces with other groups in the area to find a solution. The groups combined their social funds and funds from individual members’ contributions.
With this collection, the borehole was repaired.
“The WYSE project brings fraternity through Savings Groups,” said Kodjo, who also serves as the president of the Village Development Committee. “If it were in the past, only a few leaders would join me to pay for the repairs of the borehole. Today, we are confident that with the Savings Groups, our village will continue to strive for its development. Thanks to Plan for opening the eyes of the communities to act collectively to handle community development issues.”
“This Has Been Made Possible”
Akpénè is 40 years old and married with seven children. She is a member of a Savings Group in the same Togo community that repaired the borehole.
Through the years, she has seen the importance of the borehole, and is thankful that the Savings Groups were able to rally together. She has seen a real change.
“In the past, we used to drink water from the dam and we were told to boil the water before drinking it, but many of us didn’t obey the instructions,” she said. “So many children suffered from stomachaches and diarrhea. In 2010, we were happy to have potable water through the borehole. Unfortunately, the water stopped flowing out from the borehole and we became desperate. For two months, nothing! We had nothing to do other than to go back to the dam water and suffer its negative effects. During our network meeting, we decided to contribute in order to repair the borehole. The money collected was added to the water committee fund and was used to repair the borehole and to cement the ground. This has been possible through WYSE Savings Groups. Thank you to the WYSE project.”