Namikango Mission

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A Light in Dark Times

Aug 17, 2016

The people of Malawi have had a very difficult harvest year. This leads to a variety of other difficulties.

This makes it hard to plan for future events like planting for another crop, or for family events, such as school fees and weddings.

The daily struggle of operating on a very small budget requires enormous mental determination and courage. In the U.S. we often take for granted the financial services that we use every day. Imagine having no checking or savings account, no ATM, no access to financial services such as insurance or banking.

How could you save, or purchase furniture, or a car, or a home, or seed for next year's crop? You couldn't! This is the plight of most people in the village areas of Malawi.

The idea that rural Malawians might set up their own savings and loan has been around for some time, but implementing it is another matter. The process is both simple and complex. It involves a group of individuals coming together to operate as financial advisors, bank, ATM and insurance policy for each other.

Because of the many benefits of this saving method, Namikango Mission has taken it upon ourselves to train and equip churches on how to start a Village Savings Group among their own people. (This is the assignment for Ryan Hayes.) The pilot phase of the program began in February of this year with the training of an initial 29 people. Since that first group began, there have been 57 savings groups formed (with over 900 members participating). The demand is high for a good financial mechanism. Even individuals are excited to learn how to save and budget their own finances. With all 57 groups combined, there is a total amount of $9,000 in savings.

As has been proven many times, rural people can and will save when there is a safe and reliable way to do so. We are very excited that people have responded to this program and are convinced that this is meeting a deep need during difficult times. And you can imagine how helping people through diligent stewardship helps them to see that the Kingdom of God is alive, active, and walking among them.

Ryan Hayes