European Union-LEAN Savings for Transformation Boxes improve access to financial services in Kassena Nankana West District

A convergence of several challenges has created complex livelihood crises in rural communities in the Kassena Nankana District in the Upper East region.

Aside from being resource-constrained to navigate these crises, communities in this district lack access to financial services, making it difficult for them to meet their financial needs.

A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday said an European Union (EU)-funded project, Landscapes and Environmental Agility across the Nation (EU-LEAN), implemented by World Vision Ghana, had addressed the crises through the Savings for Transformation (S4T) initiative.

This initiative allows smallholders to save money and access loans on flexible terms for investment, consumption, and emergency purposes. ‘S4T brings access to uninterrupted financial services to the doorsteps of about 24 communities in the district, improving livelihoods, increasing household incomes, and facilitating village-based entrepreneurship’, said Joseph Abugri Talata, a projec
t officer.

‘Rural communities depend largely on forest resources such as tree felling for firewood, charcoal production, and agricultural activities for their livelihoods and income. Preventing them from engaging in such activities requires the introduction of alternative livelihoods and income-generating activities, the reason the project introduced S4T to communities,’ he added.

The statement said before that farmers founr it difficult to access financial support including loans to meet their needs. ‘It was difficult to find someone who had enough money to lend to you to solve critical financial problems. Firewood harvesting was one way I earned income but I have stopped this after joining S4T group in the Banyono community,’ said Atongo Cynthia, S4T a famer.

S4T beneficiaries Adawona Vivian and Ayedalem Diana both accessed loans to establish provision shops and are now trading in different commodities that earn them income.

As a result, the two are now able to support their households financially.

is year, I took a loan of one thousand Ghana cedis. This enabled my husband to buy agro-inputs for our vegetable farm,’ said Vivian.

For Adawona, S4T is not providing access to financial services it was also promoting relationships and building peaceful coexistence among households. S4T also improved women’s leadership and decision making process at household levels.

World Vision Ghana, through EU-LEAN, has formed 60 S4T groups in 24 communities.

The statement said by December 2023, these S4T groups had saved 647,951.00, Ghana cedis with 1,492 (1,165 women and 327 men) smallholders accessing loans. A cumulative of 72,553.30 Ghana cedis was accrued as interest. This granted financial freedom to smallholder farmers.

World Vision Ghana recently provided training on group dynamics, leadership, basic recordkeeping, financial, and business management to key leaders of S4T groups from these communities to sustain this initiative beyond the EU-LEAN Project. ‘We have improved financial inclusion and increased wome
n’s financial access to a level that they are now contributing significantly to meeting their households’ needs. This improves family cohesion and bonding needs’, said Joseph Edwin Yelkabong, EU-LEAN Project manager at World Vision Ghana.

The project supported 1,492 S4T group members to plant 2,984 seedlings mostly economic trees such as mango and cashew. By adopting these practices, local communities have not only improved their livelihoods and incomes, but they are also contributing to the overall restoration of degraded lands in the Kassena Nankana West District.

The EU-LEAN intervention has enabled farmers to diversify their livelihoods, improve crop yields, and access better markets through agricultural value chain linkage fairs.

This has in turn increased their incomes and allowed them to invest in their communities.

‘The project has enabled these communities to become more resilient and adaptive to climate change while improving biodiversity in their areas.’

Source: Ghana News Agency