ADRA has been working with Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) in 12 villages in Las Anod, Somaliland to empower community groups with an aim to improve livelihoods and build resilience among the groups and its members. To increase their “borrowing” power, ADRA worked with the VSLA groups to create a revolving fund. The revolving fund is a fund that provides the VSLA members with large scale loans that enables the small businesses to scale up, thereby serving as a bridge to formal financial services.

The revolving fund account was credited with USD 30,000, where a total of 76 (70 women, 6 men) members have benefited so far. The beneficiaries have used the money borrowed to open new businesses or improve their existing businesses.

Some of the VSLA members in Las Anod share their journey.

Layla Darwash

A leader and a member of Daryeel VSLA, Layla ran a small business to make ends meet for her family.

“When I started out, my shop was not big enough. I sold small household items just to generate enough money to cater for my households needs.”

“Through the VSLA group, I borrowed USD 500 from the revolving fund and used the money to upgrade my shop and the things I sell in the shop. I started selling different things like rice, wheat flour, sugar, dates and different beverages, which brought in more money.”

“Thanks to the revolving fund, I am able to make enough money and pay back the loan at USD 50 every month without delay. I am now able to cater for my family’s needs and have enough to save.”

Jama Abdirahman Nuur

VSLAs are considered women’s groups but 49-year-old Jama is changing that narrative as one of the few men who decided to join a VSLA. A father of eight children, Jama is improving his life through the revolving fund.

“I am a known businessman in my village and people would come to buy different items from my shop. I used to rent a premise for my shop and most times I struggled meeting the ever-increasing rental fee. Due to not paying rent on time, the landlord would evict me anytime he wanted since there are no rules or written agreements for renting.”

“Through the VSLA, I borrowed, USD 400 from the revolving fund and used it to buy building materials to build my own shop on a portion of my land. All the rental worries are now behind me and my customers can easily find and get access to me anytime.”

“I am grateful to ADRA for starting the revolving fund because without the money, I could not have built this shop as I only earned enough for the family and paying the high monthly rent.”

“Right now, I can comfortably pay back the money I borrowed, where I pay USD 40 every month.”

Deeqa Jama

A mother of five children, Deeqa Jama is a member and secretary of Hormuud VSLA. Deeqa is a creative young entrepreneur who is known in her village for her passion in business.

“I used to sell small items such as water, juice, soap, battery, match boxes and razor blades. People bought them but I could not generate enough cash from them. I could hardly save anything from what I made since the family expenses were also high.”

“As a member of the VSLA, I was among the first in my group to borrow USD 500 from the revolving fund. I immediately bought a solar panel for charging mobile phones since the village has no electricity and this was a great opportunity for business. I charge approximately 50 mobile phones per day each earning me USD 0.2. At the end of the day, I get at least USD 10. This has really helped me a lot as it brings in consistent income as people use their mobile phones all the time.”

“My business has grown, and I am able to save enough money after taking care of my family expenses. I am able to easily pay back USD 50 monthly for the borrowed money.”

ADRA is implementing the European Union (EU) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) funded Restore project through the Somali Resilience Program (SomReP) since 2019 and aims to achieve sustainably improved food security and livelihoods and build resilience through effective risk management, protection of productive assets and governance of natural resources for pastoral and agro-pastoralist communities in Las Anod.