Saving has been traditionally women’s business in SHOUHARDO III areas. The program uses the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) model in mobilizing savings groups. Such groups are known to be helpful for the members due to flexible saving amount among members and availability of loans that could be used for additional investment and even during emergencies. However, due to time contraints, and typiclally being involved with work during the day time, men struggled to take part in the VSLAs. When the program recalibrated its VSLA approaches that garnered more interest in the communities, there came the first all-male VSLA groupin Purbo Fulmati village, Phulbari upazila in Kurigram district.
This VSLA is being facilitated by Dilruba Parven, a former VSLA member herselffrom SHOUHARDO I. The program trained her on how to mobilize VSLAs and as a keen facilitator, she managed to convince the program participants and formed the VSLAs. Now, she is facilitating three, including the all-male one.
Since the formation of the VSLA in October 2019, Anowar Hossen, the chairman of the male VSLA group has seen positive outcomes and shared on behalf of the members, “Usually, we don’t have a stable income or the income source round the year, and most of us have no savings, whether formal or informal. At the time of necessity we have to take a loan from others and NGOs with high interest rates, which becomes a burden for us.” Rehoy Borman, the co-chairman of the group added, “By becoming a member of this group, we can have money by the end of the year by saving accoding to our financial capacity, and of course we can take out loan whenever we need it.” The group members have saved total BDT 12,900 (152 USD), up toJanuary and meets monthly. Seven members already took out loans investing in small businesses and their children’s educational expenses.