Kimberly Rosen, visits village savings and loans association in Ghana’s Papu community.
Photo Credit: Mohammed Nurudeen/JSI

In Papu, a small farming community in the Nadowli-Kaleo District of the Upper West Region of Ghana, women who belong to the village savings and loans association (VSLA) are on a mission to improve the lives of their families. For several years, the group, which is called Nuoyong (literally meaning ‘only joy’), operated only as a mother-to-mother support group (MtMSG), which brought mothers and caregivers together to receive information, share their experiences, and support each other to feed and care for their children, especially within a child’s first 1,000 days. This year, USAID Advancing Nutrition helped the MtMSG add savings and loans to their activities, providing an additional means of support for nutrition and other household needs.

On October 11, 2022, USAID’s Ghana Mission Director, Kimberly Rosen, traveled over 730 km from the capital, Accra, to visit and interact with the Nuoyong VSLA/MtMSG group. She could not hide her excitement at seeing the women doing something to empower themselves.

"I started my career 20 years ago with USAID, really focused on women’s economic empowerment. So, I feel like I am home again," she stated. She also emphasized that USAID promotes interventions that integrate livelihoods, agriculture, water and sanitation, and health and nutrition, among others, to promote the overall wellbeing of households and communities.

Siita Amina, a member of the group, said the VSLA helps them raise money to cater for some of the needs of their families.

"Sometimes, you can take a loan and buy for your children things that they have been asked to bring to school. We sometimes also use the money to support feeding in the house," Amina said.

To date, USAID Advancing Nutrition activity has supported a total of 320 community groups across 17 districts of Ghana with a total membership of 8,885 to function both as VSLAs and MtMSGs, including the Nuoyong VSLA/MtMSG.