Women’s savings groups in rural communities in Tajikistan help women get loans to pay for repairs, land and more.
For rural communities in Tajikistan, access to traditional banking methods is limited. There are no finance services that are affordable, the documents required are very complicated, and business loans can carry up to 30% interest – this makes it near impossible for people to start up small businesses.
Oxfam worked with villages to establish women’s savings groups to help solve this problem. Each member pays between 5-50 Somoni a month. The money is kept in a secure box which has three locks: three members look after a key so it cannot be opened unless they are all present. The women can then draw money as a loan to use to pay for repairs, land, small business needs, and even weddings. Previously people were having to rely on family and friends to borrow money from.
The savings groups scheme was established in 2017 and the response rate was very successful – 1800 members joined groups within one year. There are now over 2500 members; 95% women.
Oxfam acted to establish the groups, but did not supply any equipment, the women were equipped with the knowledge, and now run these groups independently of Oxfam.