Cultivating a Savings Culture in Malawi

Maness' Story

Maness and her goat

Have you ever thought anything tangible could come from a small thobwa business?  

Married with 2 kids, Maness Nkhoma hails from Kalungulu village in T/A Chakhaza. She joined Orant’s Financially Empowering Microloans (FEM) for Women Program in 2022.

“After joining, I took a loan of 100,000 MWK. I invested it in my Thobwa Business. At first, I thought the business could only support my daily needs.” 

However, business training opened Masness’ eyes to saving culture. By saving, Maness could afford more than just daily needs.   

Village Savings & Loans Groups

As a way of cultivating a saving culture in the FEM Program, Orant requires each cohort to establish a savings group. Village Savings & Loans (VSL) Groups help members easily save and receive loans from their savings. 

VSL groups run from January to December. Members meet every week to deposit their savings. One can deposit as low as 200 MWK every week.

Members can then take loans out with a small interest. The interest is added to the members’ savings.

The Importance of a Backup Plan

“Sometimes business makes losses,” Maness says. “When this happens, one needs top up capital to keep their business running. In such cases, we get loans from the VSL Group to keep our businesses running. This also helps us to not forfeit our loans from Orant.”

The Fruits of Saving

In 2022, Maness made the most out of her VSL group. She saved 123,000 MWK through her Orant VSL Group and 82,000 MWK through her village group.

From her savings, Maness has managed to pay school fees for her son. She has purchased maize for her Thobwa business. And! She bought a pig and a goat, both of whom have already produced offspring. 

“I am sure that by the end of this year, I will have countless livestock to help my household’s financial security,” she says. “In the 2023 cycle, I’ll likely save even more than in 2022. The VS&L groups have greatly helped me.”

Planning for the Future

When she doesn’t have to worry about surviving the day-to-day, Maness can plan for the future. 

She expects to save enough in 2023 to buy iron sheets for her house.

“I encourage all my fellow businesswomen to have a saving culture, no matter how small their businesses are,” Maness advises. 

For more stories from Orant’s FEM Program:

The Orant Journal