Joshua Fiagbedzi hired as advocate manager in Ghana
June 1, 2015
In Ghana, working through cohesive groups of locals will be critical to success. To that end, we are delighted to announce that we have hired Ghanaian Joshua Fiagbedzi to help in group formation and advocacy.
One tool we will be using to develop tight-knit groups is the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). VSLAs help people improve their financial situations, and Joshua’s initial work will be focused on establishing multiple VSLA groups and identifying people he can train to facilitate groups under his supervision.
Joshua comes to Just Hope with seven years of VSLA experience in Ghana, having established more than 30 VSLA groups during that time. Most of the groups he helped set up are still operating, and many of them have been together five or more years.
Initially, Joshua said, people are skeptical of the ability of a VSLA to help them financially, but groups are easy to grow once established, because members who experience the benefits are eager to recruit their friends. Because a VSLA offers the chance for people to consistently save a small amount of money, members are able to amass funds for purchases that improve their standard of living or increase their household income. They are able to leverage a little money every week into a life-changing force.
“People have used the savings to build a house, buy land or a purchase a vehicle,” Joshua said. “The man who bought a car was able to use that car to generate more income for his household, and the man who bought land was able to build his family a home and stop paying rent.”
Joshua’s goal for the first three months is to establish 5 to 10 VSLA groups. As he forms groups, he will train trainers to oversee clusters of groups and in this way, reach hundreds of hard-working Ghanaians eager for improved financial conditions.
The eldest of five children, Joshua was born and raised in Ghana to a mother who is a goods trader and a father who is an electrician. Joshua has a diploma in business from Accra Polytechnic and is one year away from earning his degree from the University of Professional Studies in Accra, Ghana’s capital city. He speaks several Ghanaian tribal languages (as well as English), which gives him greater access to communities outside of Accra. He is engaged to be married in July to Emily, a teaching fellow at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).