Catholic Relief Service says savings group crucial for household survival

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By Lucy Ogalue

The Catholic Relief Service (CRS), says saving groups is important in ensuring household resilience, especially for those affected by insurgency in the country.

Some officials of CRS said this at the 2024 National Savings Group Conference (NSGC) in Abuja on Wednesday.

They spoke at a panel discussion on “Accelerating the Impact of Financial Inclusion for Low-income Women” on the sidelines of the NSGC 2024.

The panelists, while speaking on the impact of Saving and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) in their various communities, said it had impacted positively on the lives of the people.

Mr Vandi Tumba, Agriculture and Livelihoods Programme Manager for the Transitioning Households to Recovery from Vulnerability (THRIVE), reiterated the importance of including Nigerians affected by crises or conflicts financially.

“It is very important to know that savings groups provide them an opportunity to build a kind of capital base.

“It is a group of people that is about 15 to 30 that comes together to pull meagre resources in one location so that they can be able to pull it out to start an income generation activity.

 “Or to expand an already existing income generation activity that they are involved in. So it is a form of community response by the community,’’ Tumba said.

 He said it provided a realistic opportunity for households to build their capital, financial assets, build their network and self-confidence, and linkages with actors that provided them resilience.

According to him, the group cannot work without the collaboration of relevant stakeholders such as the community, government, private sector and financial service providers among others.

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“So, I think if we are able to achieve this kind of synergy, then I think the vast majority of Nigerians that have been excluded will have a realistic opportunity to be financially included,’’ he said.

Also speaking, Ms Blessing Ogbobe, SILC Supervisor, Action for Education, Poverty and Malnutrition, Bauchi State, said the role of savings groups in the lives of members of the communities could not be overemphasised.

Ogbobe said: “this savings group has brought a lot of women and families out of poverty, the women are empowered, and it has also helped to reduce gender based violence.

“We know all of the causes of gender based violence is poverty. When there is poverty when the men are out of work, they are frustrated.

“And they tend to transfer aggression to their spouse, but with this savings the women are empowered to support.

“They can now bring things to the table, they can support their husbands, and it has very much improved the life of their families.’’

Ogbobe, therefore, advised every women out there that are not part of any savings group, to cultivate savings culture by joining a savings group.

“When you save, you are motivated and you begin to think of what to invest the money into.

“So I want to encourage women to see reasons to look for any credible group that they can find in their community.

“It will help women without business ideas to interact with their fellow participants on businesses they could venture into, thereby, reducing poverty to a very reasonable rate in the community.’’

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Another panelist, Mr John Ajakaiye of the CRS Stabilisation and Reconciliation in the Lake Chad Region project , said SILC had enabled members to better absorb shock.

Ajakaiye said: “ SILC members are able to absorb low capacity shocks. They are able to pay for things easily, for healthcare, draw from the official fund and do all of that.

“They are able to engage in storage of food products and subsidise this products to members before it is taken to the market,’’

Mr Felix Ikyereve, Technical Advisor on the Integrated Child Health and Social Service Award Lot1 project, said SILC was a safety net for community project participants, and urged for the integration of all SILC projects. (NAN)

Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

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