Pastoral Women's Council PWC Tanzania
The foreshadowing of a women’s economic group in Ketumbeine first began around 10 years ago when an orphan boy in the area, Zacharia, asked for support to afford his school fees. The women came together and organised, each giving 500 tsh which covered the fees. From this initial call for support, discussions continued about how to provide sustainable support for Zacharia to continue his studies into the future.
The original investment group began with 20 women. Following PWC’s involvement and support seven years ago, the group has grown from strength to strength and now encompasses more than 100 women.
“PWC became involved with us after seeing our sense of community and commitment within the original group” says Teresea the group Chair.
Over the years PWC’s support has enabled the group to grow in size and sophistication. In 2016, with PWCs leadership, the group formed their first ‘VICOBA’ independent savings and loan scheme.
The VICOBA structure sees each women contributing weekly funds to the group pool as investment shares. Records of individual contributions are recorded in log books, which illustrate each woman’s investment and loan balances.
Group member Tumaini was the first member of the group to receive a loan from the VICOBA, in December 2016. She borrowed money to purchase two bulls to fatten and resell for profit.
“I chose the business of buying and fattening bulls because the opportunity for profit is high. Many Maasai make money like this, so it seems low-risk” she says.
Before having independent access to a loan, Tumaini has never had the right to own cattle. Her Maasai culture and husband mean that the change to financial independence and property ownership is novel and exciting for Tumaini.
“Just yesterday my husband took one of my goats and sold it without my permission. When he got home I told him off and made him give me the money!
“I have always shared with my husband the knowledge and benefits I get from the group and now he has greater respect and appreciation for me. So when I put my foot down he listens to me!” she says.