While 2020 was the year the world began to grapple with the economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, for many communities in Sierra Leone there was another challenge that loomed large. Heavy rains fell, drastically affecting the rice harvest for small villages like Koikoro, a small subsistence-farming community. For the people of Koikoro the poor harvest should have meant hunger for the entire village until after the next planting season, but instead it became the opportunity for one group in the village to share God’s hope.
In February of 2020, World Renew had begun the implementation of a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), training a group of 37 (mostly women) and equipping the group with a start-up grant of Le 3,000,000 (~$300 US).
Members had borrowed from the start-up fund for various home-based business ideas including buying and selling basic food or household items, prepared foods, or local services. As they paid back the low-interest loans and the interest amounts, each member deposited funds into their savings account. They also contributed to a community fund to help VSLA members in dire situations.
Within seven months the VSLA had increased the initial capital pool of Le 3,000,000 to Le 8,000,000. When rice for the village began to dwindle due to the poor harvest, the VSLA gathered and agreed to collectively purchase 20 bags of rice for their community, selling it at cost to save considerable money for the village and preventing widespread hunger.
Thank you for your generosity that is allowing communities to overcome hunger and move forward with hope.