Maasai women's savings top 300,000 euros

05-02-2018
Trias strengthens 350 village and community banks (VICOBAs) in the north of Tanzania which provide crucial leverage for the emancipation of 7,140 Maasai women.
 
The Maasai are semi-nomadic cattle farmers and live in a highly patriarchal society. The rights of women are extremely limited, as are opportunities for them to earn their own income. 
 
Savings and loans
 
Trias Tanzania has developed a method to reduce the isolation these women experience. 'We support 350 VICOBAs in their efforts to become more professional. Altogether, they have 8,400 members who are mainly women,' said Trias staff member Natalie Vanden Eynde who is specialised in microfinance.
 
The VICOBAs enable Maasai women to save and borrow money. But are they really pushing to manage their money themselves? “In one and half years, the savings total has grown from 40,000 to 300,000 euros, and the demand for microloans follows the same trend line. The numbers have multiplied by a factor of nine. These figures really speak for themselves.”
 
Business support
 
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the VICOBAs for local women. 'The women suddenly realise that they can stand on their own two feet and that they have the power to improve their own lives. This is a feeling that they have never experienced before,' said Vanden Eynde. 
 
Trias Tanzania also aims to ensure that the women receive more than just microfinance services. With support provided by local partner organisations, they can access training and coaching to enable them to build a profitable business. 2,200 women have already been professionally trained in how to manage a business.
 
Digital tools
 
A particularly noteworthy achievement is Trias Tanzania's use of geolocation and digital data collection tools to strengthen the VICOBAs. 40 local men and women were trained to use smartphones and tablets, with which they record information as they travel around the remotest rural areas.