Grace & Light members in local churches are saving part of their incomes and investing in each other’s small businesses to reduce the poverty in their lives.
They are members of one of the 26 Voluntary Savings and Accountability Groups (VSAG) active in many of the churches across Jos and Yola.
VSAGs are the new way of doing life sharing accountability for Grace & Light members who choose to share their HIV results after testing in local churches.
Each group has 25 to 30 members who meet each week to encourage each other in their Christian lives. The final quarter hour of each meeting is given to their savings club.
They are able to buy up to five shares; all the shares have the same value that is agreed by the group, so they have financial equitability. Group members can then borrow up to three times the value of their shares and pay interest to the group.
Interest is paid back within three months or it doubles – so others can borrow. After 12 months members receive the value of their shares plus interest earned. Then their savings club starts again from scratch.
Each savings club is run by three members who act as the treasurers. When the group meets they record deposits and borrowing in a ledger and individual passbooks then put the money in the group safe, usually in their church, or in a local bank account.
International coordinator Tassie Ghata explained: “We had been concerned for some time that members were not staying committed to life sharing groups for very long. They would join enthusiastically, then begin attending sporadically before stopping.
“This is a problem as group members depend on support from each other if they are to overcome the temptations they face each day at work and home. Adding stewardship of money has given the groups longevity.
“We are delighted that all our groups are active. Some have been operating for more than a year and are still strong. Members have enriched their homes and businesses.”
Other churches are asking for Grace & Light to start the groups for their congregations and so we are looking for funds to train new VSAG leaders.
Please pray for:
- Treasurers in the VSAGS will honestly and transparently manage their group members’ savings
- Group members will attend meetings each week, share their lives openly and encourage other members to live lives that honour God
- Church leaders will publicly support the VSAGs in their churches
- Funding and new leaders to train so new groups can form.