Case of Village Savings and Loans Associations in Niger: Mata Masu Dubara Model of Remote Outreach
This case study examines 25 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in Niger. It describes recent changes in their structure, and examines important trade-offs facing VSLAs. VSLAs are recognized as a strong model for delivering financial services in remote, rural areas. Changes in VSLA methodology in the last few years include:
- Shift in focus from financial services to accumulating associations that are networked and linked to financial institutions;
- Move to a higher level of sophistication and costs;
- More complex governance and greater dependence on CARE in management and governance;
- Savings mobilization at the network level;
- Decrease in the breadth of outreach;
- Dependency on external subsidy.
The case found that the recent move to networks may threaten internal governance as well as breadth of outreach. Other results include:
- Trade-off in terms of members' ownership and internal control;
- Shift in responsibility to village agents who have not yet demonstrated their ability to manage sophisticated systems;
- Uncertainty about the value added by networks and linkages.