A successful and socially conscious Savings and Internal Lending Community (SILC) in FRB’s Malawi-Kasungu-Mzimba program has used its emergency social fund to cheer the sick at a local hospital and health center.
All SILCs set aside a portion of the interest earned from loans for a “social fund” to cover members’ emergencies like illness, funerals, and calamities. This particular SILC had been fortunate enough not to have needed to use its fund, and the amount kept growing. Considering what to do with the money, the group decided to share the bounty at an area hospital and a health center with special donations.
They purchased for distribution among patients and their families a carton of bars of soap; two 50kg bags of oranges; one 50kg bag of maize flour; 20kg of salt and 50 brooms. An officer at the health center thanked them and said that this was the first time a local group had come to cheer up the sick not only with prayers but with useful gifts. He also said the brooms will help to keep the clinic clean.
“This is encouraging,” a hospital officer told them. “Most people think only white people can donate things but you have set an example to others that anyone can do it. Thank you for your generosity.
”Before participating in the program, members of their SILC group had experienced problems – inability to access inputs for agriculture, food shortages and a lack of capital to start small-scale businesses to increase their income.
The program’s three-pronged approach offers training in improved agricultural practices, formation of SILC groups, and collective marketing. With good inputs, appropriate farming techniques, savings, and the ability to borrow money for ag and household needs, members have seen great improvements in their lives.
They’ve been able to harvest enough to feed their families and sell for income that they use for additional inputs, school fees, medical expenses, and housing repairs. And to share some with those in need.
Malawi Kasungu-Mzimba encompasses 242 communities, 4770 households and 23,850.