Tanzania Exchange Visit

CRS to Floresta, Tanzania 


CRS visited Floresta to learn more about their VICOBA groups and savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOs) to potentially apply successful and replicable methodologies to SILC programs in Sierra Leone. CRS hoped to learn more about Floresta’s integrated program activities, as well as monitoring and evaluation techniques used for VICOBA groups.

 Main Lessons Learned:

 1) Passbook and Ledger System

All VICOBA groups currently use a passbook and ledger system, while SILC groups managed by CRS-Sierra Leone only use a ledger system. While ledgers are used to keep track of a number of general group activities (attendance, social funds, savings, fines and loans), the passbook only contains information on individual shares that each member contributes to the group. The addition of passbooks is extremely useful for predominantly illiterate communities because the passbook can easily track all savings deposits that have been made and allows members to observe for themselves their contributions to the group. Members can record their share information with symbols (such as a hand, a goat, lion, etc.),  if they are not able to write their name. CRS-Sierra Leone plans to pilot the passbook methodology in select SILC communities that are predominantly illiterate.

2) Integrated Programming 

Floresta currently implements integrated programs in agriculture (crop and livestock) and the environment. Beneficiaries plant food crops and cash crops, and raise livestock on the same plot of land. Discussions with Floresta beneficiaries indicated the value of integrated trainings for VSLA, such as agricultural development, because they can help group members better understand the linkages between different activities as a step towards potentially improving their food security.  CRS is looking into the possibility of incorporating integrated trainings into its SILC model.

Organic Coffee Intercropped in a Banana Plantation in Tanzania

Ibrahim Tarawally in Tanzania








 3) Clustering of VICOBA Groups for Financial Services  

Board Members of the SACCOS Group

Because the average loan size is often small in VICOBA groups, groups are sometimes arranged into larger bodies to open up the opportunity for bigger loans. This is particularly useful for beneficiaries engaged in petty trading and for farmers who wish to purchase quality seed and chemical inputs. CRS is interested in this approach, but plans to conduct additional research before implementing in Sierra Leone.




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