Village loans concept keeping Malawi women poorer -official

A government official has hinted the famous village savings and loans concept is pushing some women deeper into poverty as they fail to come out of their loan bondages prompting them to sell off property to clear debts.

Village savings group

Village savings group

A Malawi Village Savings and Loan group

A Malawi Village Savings and Loan group

Lucy Vumu, Nsanje District Community Officer has since asked non government organisations advocating for the concept to place measures that would help women get out of their loan trap without selling off their property to repay debts.

“These loans have put some families in problems, some women have landed themselves in problems. In some instances, women grouos confisticate property of families when a woman fails to settle debts, this is bad,” she said.

She said this defeats the whole purpose of the concept to raise the welfare and living standards of women.

Vumu said NGOs advocating for the concept should always liaise with community district offices on how best to implement the concept.

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Penjani Phinjani

I had to bailout my sister from such loans. Miserable thing indeed. However a few women and NGOs are benefiting from this.


We are indeed in the last days of the earth’s history. 2 Tim 3:3, “Anthu adzakhala okonda ndalama.” Anthu ena anasiya kukumana m’milaga, m’miphakati ,m’ma Jesus way chifukwa cha mabanki amudzi or ma share. Ndizomvetsa chisoni kwambiri kuti zalowanso mumipingo.Opemphera pamodzi kulandana katundu chifukwa cholephera kubweza ngongole, mpingo ukhalapo?

Malawians, lets accept that VS and L have helped many women and has also exposed the weakness the Malawians have on saving. saving culture in Malawi is very poor but you can ably see a local Malawi who is doing local business having MK300 000 by December. That’s an achievement. I am working but I also joined workmate and doing VS and L, as am talking am getting MK1, 7 million from the savings and interests. We just need to put capacity building to these women on how to use the money after borrowing. Fancy, borrowing from the bank now,… Read more »
Mark Liwonde

I disagree with you, Lucy Vumu. If there are such issues in Nsanje they must not be generalised. Those groups have not properly trained. But the real concept of VSLA cannot result into what is happening there.


I totally agree with this. Women are plunged into deep poverty because of this. December is a month of cries and discomfort in the village. Better assessment is required. Problem with Malawi is that we copy everything from outside without differentiating the social and economic implications. Haven’t you heard of people killing themselves, casual sex to pay loans, selling hard won property to pay loan and obtain peace? Yes there are successes. But I know in Malawi we only focus on good things when writing reports and hide pertinent issues which have a bearing on project impact evaluation.


Wot happens if the sem women went to the bank? Firstly, the banks won’t give them the loans n if they do, they would also confiscate property if these women don’t pay back.
So I think this Government Official ndi wabodza,fake weniweni, akufuna anamidze ndani? Amutuma amabank chifukwa pano anthu slowly are leaving Banking WITH these banks.


Just making conclusion from one sample that is not representative. Hope you know what banks require to trust somebody with loans?

Kamuzu Banda

The concept is good but there are 3 main challenges these women face
1. most women borrow to give money to women ( helping their mens business) and its these men that dont return the money
2. For those that choose to do business on their own, the challenge has been to find a viable business which would give them returns. and this is not simple, because not even business people in town are able to diverse.
3. for single women, after failing to square the loan, the next business option is to sell themselves.
APM waika dziko pa moto…Merry Christmas


Not all women get poorer due to these village savings groups. Most women’s are being empowered through such associations. Otherwise the banks cannot lend money to such individuals who do not have any collateral.

Grabbing of property due to defaults in loan repayment is common issue even with men and women borrowing from banks. We see houses, cars etc being sold by banks to clear loans.

So please do not discourage village banks. Rather encourage women to work hard to repay loans, or they should avoid to take loans without doing business.


This one is kind of reporting hearsy, check out on the google and see how these programes are benefiting many through many ways. I have been involved in credible research studies that shows the many benefits these groups are doing. people who cant access loans through formal institutions are able to get loans and money circulation in villages has been increasing. these incidents are just few and normal which are not worth making a conclusion out of it.

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