Enat Fiker - United for success

Established two years ago with the support of CARE’s “Women for Women Project”, Enat Fiker (meaning mother’s love) has become one of the strongest Village Savings & Loans Associations (VSLAs) in the Kirkos sub-city of Addis Ababa

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Getting a loan from our Village Savings & Loans Association is like having money from my own pocket.”  Shemesiya Mohammed, 32, mother of three. 

Established two years ago with the support of CARE’s “Women for Women Project”, Enat Fiker (meaning mother’s love) has become one of the strongest Village Savings & Loans Associations (VSLAs) in the Kirkos sub-city of Addis Ababa.  Members established their association after attending a 10-day training course as part of the ‘Women for Women’ project, where the women learnt about the importance of credit and savings as they grew as entrepreneurs.

With the help of the project community facilitator, 30 women came together and established the association.  Having elected five committee members, they started to meet every Friday for an hour to save and discuss various social issues.

The minimum share for saving is 10 birr a week and members can save up to five shares, 50 birr (US$1.85) per week.  Each member can take out a loan equal to around three times the amount she has invested.  This encourages members to save more.   Currently, 12 members of the association are saving the maximum.

“We do not give a loan to a member without first assessing her business plan. When a few members apply for a loan at the same time, we prioritise based on their plan and urgency. But any member does not have to wait too long to access a loan. ” Says Enatenesh Tamiru, Chairperson of the VSLA.

Before they shared out their capital a year after they had established the VSLA, their total capital was 47,000 birr (US$1,740).  This is the highest capital of all the other VSLAs established with support from the project. They lend up to 6,000 birr (US$222) per member, with a three-month repayment period. Thus, the association’s capital circulates every time.

Yergedu Berhe, 45, another member of the VSLA added, “I save 50 birr every week. I took out two loans, the latest for 4,000 birr (US$148), to expand my clay pot business.  The best thing about our VSLA is the simplicity of accessing the loan compared to micro finance institutions.”    

Members of the Enat Fiker VSLA engage in various business activities including vegetables, spices, sewing and bread-making. Being able to participate in the bazaars organised by the project also helped members to maintain or increase their savings. 

Enat Fiker members believe that their VSLA will continue even after the project ends, as everyone benefits.  Members are repaying their loans on time and all members wish to continue.   The next step is to change committee members for the third cycle, so that other members can experience leadership.

The best thing about our VSLA is the simplicity of accessing the loan compared to micro finance institutions.”    

Interview with: Mulu Haile, Founder and Director, MCDP

“I think we will see several successful international businesswomen coming out of this process.”

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