Hero Spotlight: Joseph Yaw Konnor
March 18, 2016
What do you do when your children want to go to school, but you won’t have the money to pay for the required fees until next month when your crop matures?
That’s the kind of quandary Joseph and his fellow neighbors in Ejumapa, Ghana, faced. Diligent farmers and traders, they needed a way to cash flow the everyday, important life demands that could pull them out of poverty. Growing their local economy. Paying the required school fees. Seeking health care.
With interest rates near 200% and hefty collateral requirements, banks are of no help to farmers like Joseph. Crops are not always predictable. Joseph needed a reliable, accessible way to borrow money.
Faced with school fees on the horizon, Joseph and his neighbors, with guidance from Just Hope, established a village savings and loan association (VSLA) for Ejumapa. The members contribute on an ongoing basis together, and know that each member can access loans in turn, repaying them when their individual crops yield an income.
Joseph recently planted a crop of maize, and applied to borrow 100 gh (25 USD) from his VSLA to pay his children’s school fees.
“I’m happy I joined the VSLA because without it, it would be difficult for me to pay my children’s school fees,” says Joseph.