During my time in Ghana, I had the opportunity to join a few members of the CARE Tamale office staff on their visit to two communities in the Upper East region in order to record information on small businesses set up by VSLA group members. These businesses are crucial to raising income as well as ensuring farmers have a source of income in times where they are not profiting from their crops.
In each community the CARE staff explained their purpose, and that documenting this information would allow CARE to provide more support specific to the needs of the community members and the businesses they have established. In each community there were 3 or 4 VSLA groups represented. Myself and the CARE staff each took one group and recorded the members’ information including their name, what type of business they have, where they get their materials or inputs, how they find their business, and where they sell their goods.
Both men and women established businesses that mostly sold to their own community or in a local small market. Businesses ranged from food sales to sale of goods such as soap and palm oil. The small business owners all indicated the importance of these businesses in stabilizing their household incomes, and most received the initial capital to start their business by taking a loan from their VSLA group.
Contributed by: Sarah Turkaly